From good governance to using tech, here’s how Kerala is dealing with coronavirus

Kerala is setting an example on how to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak by focusing on good governance, creating awareness, and supplying essentials to its people.

The number of coronavirus cases in India has been rising steadily every day. While everyday lives of people have come to a grinding halt, state governments across the country are taking important measures to control the spread of the virus.

Kerala was the first state to have reported three positive cases of coronavirus in India. Three students of Kerala origin had travelled from Wuhan province of China, which was the point of origin of the disease. Following the detection of positive cases, the state government immediately declared a "state calamity warning".

As of March 21, 2020, there were 52 confirmed cases in the state, and more than 44,000 people were under surveillance. 

Even as other countries across the world are struggling with the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Kerala is setting an example by working to contain the pandemic.  

SocialStory lists five ways in which Kerala is dealing with COVID-19 and tackling the situation.

Good governance

Kerala Health Minister Shailaja KK has proved to be a strong pillar of strength and support in the time of COVID-19 crisis. After efficiently tackling the Nipah outbreak in May 2018, she put on her armour again this year to battle this outbreak, and has contained the spread of the virus efficiently.

Health Minister Shailaja KK has played a pivotal role in containing the COVID-19 spread (Image: The India Express)

The Kerala government is also providing funds to tackle the grave problem. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced an economic package of Rs 20,000 crore - the package includes Rs 500 crore for health initiatives, and Rs 2,000 crore for loans and free ration.

Under a scheme called ‘donate-a-book’, the Wayanad District administration is distributing books to those who are home quarantined in the district. They are also distributing pamphlets to create awareness in local and foreign languages, as Wayanad is home to a number of tourists.

Free meals to children and patients

Despite the shutdown of schools and higher institutions, the state government has continued with its mid-day meal programme, where food is being distributed at children’s homes.

Anganwadi teachers distribute food at children's homes. (Image: India Today)

Going a step further is the Government Medical College in Kalamassery, the only facility in Ernakulam district treating coronavirus patients. The hospital is serving three meals a day free of cost to all patients in its coronavirus-specific isolation ward as they are not allowed to move around.

It is ensuring food is delivered to coronavirus patients on a daily basis with two different menus – one for Indian nationals and the other for foreigners. The traditional menu includes dosa, sambar, etc., while the western breakfast includes scrambled eggs and toast.

Affordable masks

At a time when many pharmacies across the country are charging exorbitant prices for face masks and hand sanitisers due to high demand, a shop in Kochi, ‘Cochin Surgicals’, is selling it for just Rs 2.

Despite incurring a loss, Thasleem PK and Nadheem MV, the owners of the medical shop, are ensuring they are providing masks to the common people and hospital staff. With this, they hope to inspire other pharmaceutical companies and shops to do the same, especially in a time of crisis.

Thasleem PK and MV Nadheem are selling masks at Rs 2 per piece. (Image: The Hindu)

Sanitising is not just a choice

Another commodity that has seen increased demand is the hand sanitiser. While medical stores and pharmaceuticals are making the best of it, students of various colleges in Kerala are making hand sanitiser and distributing it for free – some to the public and some within their circles.

The chemistry departments of nearly all the colleges in Kochi district have come together to make hand sanitisers. Many of them have been distributed for free to pedestrians, autorickshaw drivers, police stations, and to staff and students of colleges.

Image for representational purposes only.

A total of 5,000 litres of spirit was seized by the Kerala Excise Department, which is now being used to make hand sanitisers. In addition to this, about 2,568 litres of spirit was given to the health department to sanitise isolation wards.

Robots to the rescue

Kerala’s Asimov Robotics has developed two robots that are to be stationed in the airports. While one robot distributes sanitisers, masks, and napkins to the people, the other robot streams World Health Organisation’s (WHO) campaign videos, and also briefs people about social distancing and other steps to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

The robots help spread awareness about COVID-19 (Image: Manorama Online)

Additionally, they also clean the doors from time to time.

Kerala is certainly setting an example to the world in dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak. The state has proved that any step, big or small, can go a long way to fight the crisis.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)