KK Shailaja, the 63-year-old minister and the former secondary school science teacher has received a new nickname, the ‘Coronovirus Slayer’. Puza Sarker Snigdha reports.
Here is everything that you need to know about KK Shailaja and her impressive achievement:
- Shailaja held the first meeting of her rapid response team when the coronavirus outbreak reported in China first. The team set up a control room and instructed the medical officers in Kerala’s 14 districts to do the same at their level.
- Kerala found the first Covid-19 positive case on Jan 27. The state had already adopted the World Health Organization’s protocol of test, trace, isolate and support.
- Many people were coming back to Kerala who had been working in other countries including China, so they arranged a team in the airport who were responsible for checking their temperature and sent them to isolation at the nearby hospitals or home quarantined.
- On 23 March, all flights into the state’s four international airports were stopped and India applied nationwide lockdown on 25th March.170,000 people were quarantined and placed under strict surveillance in Kerala.
- The Indian government plans to lift the lockdown on 17 May. “It will be a great challenge, but we are preparing for it,” Shailaja says.
- When the outbreak started, each district was asked to dedicate two hospitals to Covid-19, while each medical college set aside 500 beds. Separate entrances and exits were designated. In the Gulf, as in the US and UK – all technologically fit countries – they are having to wait seven days,” she says.
- However, she was praised not only for her proactive response, but also for visiting the village at the center of the outbreak.