Kerala intensifies measures to curb COVID-19; makes masks mandatory for high-risk groups

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government has decided to strengthen its preventive measures against COVID-19 across the state. Health minister Veena George informed that directions regarding the same were given to all districts. 

Those suffering from lifestyle diseases, aged people, pregnant women and children must exercise extreme caution. They must wear a mask while interacting with others. If they have any symptoms of COVID-19, they must undergo a COVID-19 test, alerted the minister. 

Surge plans have been prepared for all districts given the rise in COVID-19 cases. Each private hospital in the state must report COVID cases to the health department without failure. Hospitals including Regional Cancer Centre, Malabar Cancer Centre, Sree Chitra Tirunal hospital and private hospitals must reserve beds for COVID patients, directed the Health minister. She also asked Kerala Medical Services Corporation to ensure enough stock of test kits and safety equipment like PPE kits, gloves and masks.

COVID-19 patients must be admitted to isolation wards which are ready in the state. Directions were given to set up more isolation wards immediately, informed Veena George.

"Kerala reported 20 COVID deaths within a month. Among them, the majority of the people are above 60 years. Those who are admitted to ICU are also aged. The majority of these hospitalized patients are suffering from lifestyle diseases like blood pressure and diabetes," she added.

In February, COVID cases were very low in the state. But a steep rise was recorded in the number of active cases during March. On Thursday, Kerala reported 765 cases. Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts topped the list of active cases. The genome-sequencing of collected samples revealed that the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading in Kerala. 

The health minister asked the health officials to ramp up genome sequencing and avoid laxity in reporting COVID deaths.

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