Covid-19: Kerala ready with Plan A, Plan B, Plan C to meet any exigency

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 23, 2020

Kerala has prepared a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C to meet exigencies in case Covid-19 enters the transmission stage even as seven districts are facing a lockdown as part of Central advice to States.

These seven districts make for half of Kerala’s geography, with Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Kannur and Kasaragod likely getting locked down at the earliest.

Janata Curfew extended

The Janata Curfew on Sunday, which saw all of India in self-isolation mode, is being extended beyond the 9 pm close, with police being empowered to round up those who venture out of their homes.

Health Minister KK Shailaja said that Plan A and Plan B were together operationalised immediately following the arrival of the first three students from Wuhan, the pandemic epicentre in China, earlier in January-February.

Accordingly, 50 government-run hospitals and two privately-owned hospitals were readied to meet with any emergency, as part of which 974 isolation beds were readied, with another 242 kept on standby.

Plan A successful

This plan worked in the first phase of the pandemic when all three patients were cured and sent back home, with no other case of infection being reported. Plan B saw 71 government-run hospitals and 55 in the private sector joining together, as part of which 1,408 isolation beds were prepared and 17 kept on standby.

Since almost 1,000 beds were available under Plan A and the number of positive cases far fewer, the State did not need to operationalise Plan B, Shailaja said. Which means, Plan A is what is still on in the State.

Plan C was drawn up with the arrival of the Italian family in Pathanamthitta that triggered the first Covid-19 cluster in the district, the minister said. “If the public fully cooperates with social distancing as requested by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, we might still be able to pull on with Plan B,” she added.

Case for Plan C

But if the State enters the third stage (transmission) of infection, Plan C would need to be operationalised, with even more hospitals in the private sector joining in. More beds are being identified in government hospitals in which those sections, save the vitally important ones, would be vacated, and only critical patients be retained, to accommodate incoming Covid-19 patients.

This phase would see 122 hospitals (81 government-run and 41 in the private sector) working together to make available 3,028 isolation beds and 218 ICU beds. If needed, more private hospitals will join the group.

Corona care centres

This apart, the government has set up 147 corona care centres (the State government does not anymore use the term ‘quarantines’) as per directions of the Chief Minister. These includes college and school hostels, vacant buildings and flats, among others. Only few are staying in these facilities now.

The Health Minister said that 21,866 persons can stay in these care centres if Covid-19 were to enter the transmission stage in the State. A number of State government departments are joining hands here, and more government institutions and private hospitals have extended the offer for help, if needed. Even more institutions are in an advance level of preparedness to convert themselves into such centres.

Published on March 23, 2020

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