Thiruvananthapuram: With coronavirus cases continuing to rise in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday chaired a meeting with the private hospitals and asked them to allocate 25 per cent of the total beds for COVID-19 patients.
As many as 26,685 people tested positive for coronavirus in the state on Saturday.
"Even though cases are on the rise in Kerala, there need not be a worry like what is seen in north India. As a precautionary step, held a meeting with the private sector hospitals who have pledged full support.
"We have asked them to ensure that all the ICU beds and the ventilators are checked and kept ready," Pinarayi told the media here.
He again reiterated that the Centre should reconsider its vaccine policy and ensure that it is being provided free of cost.
"The new rate for Covishield vaccine in the private sector is Rs 600, which by far is the highest priced in the whole world. The state has to pay Serum Institute (SII) Rs 400, which also is high priced, while this has been given to other countries at a lower price than this.
"What we are told is this company is making a profit at Rs 150 per dose itself. These rates are not fair priced and again I have written to the PM Narendra Modi," said Pinarayi.
The chief minister pointed out that the response of the people to contribute to the CMDR Fund to buy vaccines has been really encouraging and on Saturday alone Rs 1.15 crore came in.
Congress urges check on spread of panic
The Congress-led opposition on Saturday asked both the authorities and the media to ensure that no one should spread panic among the people regarding surge in Covid cases.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media that like in the first wave, the opposition is with the state government and is extending all the support in its activities to help reduce the spread.
"What needs to be done is none should make any attempt to spread a sense of fear when the cases surge. We request that an admission protocol for Covid patients be put up so as to reduce the load of patients in the hospitals and through this, only those who really need a hospital admission be brought to the hospital," said Chennithala.
"In the recent budget speech of the State Finance Minister Thomas Issac, he had mentioned that vaccines would be given free and this means there is an allocation that has been made. The state government should open a vaccine call centre to facilitate for answering all the queries of people," said Chennithala.
He also asked the state government to see if it could supply oxygen cylinders to places like Delhi, where there is a serious shortage.
(With inputs from IANS)