Kerala

Mansukh Mandaviya in Kerala to assess COVID-19 situation

Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya arrives at Thiruvananthapuram airport, on August 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, who arrived in the State capital a while ago, is expected to assess the COVID-19 situation in the State. He is slated to hold talks with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Health Minister Veena George, and other senior Health officials soon, to chalk out the way forward for the State.

He is also visiting Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College hospital, the main COVID hospital in the district later in the evening

The Union Health Minister is visiting Kerala at a time when the State has been recording a steady case load of 20-22,000 cases daily since the past two weeks, accounting for 50% of the new cases and around 47% of the total active cases in the country

A central team, led by the Director of the National Centre for Disease Control , which visited the State in the first week of August had suggested that the State invest in better containment measures as the Test Positivity Rate (TPR)-based containment strategy that the State had been following for over two months had not helped much in preventing disease transmission.

The team had also pointed to the lacunae in contact tracing and had stressed the need for better parameters for the monitoring and management of COVID-positive persons on home care as several people seemed to be reaching hospitals late in the symptomatic stage and succumbing to death

They had also pointed to the need for the State to look at the disaggregated data on new cases – the proportion of re-infections and breakthrough infections –amongst the new cases, so that the State has a better idea of the transmission patterns

Kerala has since then changed its TPR-based strategy and is relying more on micro containment strategies now, even as more relaxations on civil life has been allowed . It has also come out with new guidelines for optimised care of COVID patients on home care, focussing on those with serious co-morbidities who are at the highest risk of death if they contracted COVID.

Even when there is general agreement on the points raised by Kerala – that it still has a high proportion of individuals who are susceptible to COVID, unlike in the rest of the country and that it has a high proportion of elderly and those with co-morbidities in its population – what would be the way ahead for the State is the question that is being posed from all quarters.

There are public health experts who point out that given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and the huge chunk of naive population, it is likely that the State will continue to have cases for a long time, regardless of any containment measures.

The State is now banking on getting its population vaccinated as fast as possible as serious disease and death can be prevented even if the vaccinated individuals contract COVID.

Kerala is pointing to the fact that despite the steady case load of new cases, hospitalisations and ICU/Ventilator occupancy has not shown a significant increase in the State . This is being attributed to the effect of vaccination, as 61% of those above 18 years in the State has been administered the first dose and 23 %, the second dose .

One of the main demands of the State would be for the Centre to provide it more vaccines as it has the largest pool of susceptible people.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 6:55:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mansukh-mandaviya-in-kerala-to-assess-covid-19-situation/article35934870.ece

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