Covid-19: Kerala to launch ‘Crushing Curve’ mass vaccination drive

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 09, 2021

Pinarayi Vijayan, Oommen Chandy doing well after testing positive

The Kerala State Health Department will launch a ‘Crushing Curve’ campaign involving mass vaccination in a revamped fight against the Covid-19 virus that has forced two of its mass leaders, including the Chief Minister and one of his predecessors into isolation/quarantine in hospital. This represents a natural corollary to the ‘Break the Chain’ and ‘Back to Basics’ campaigns popularised earlier.

Afflicted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a predecessor and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy are ‘doing reasonably well’ for themselves respectively, at the Government Medical College at Kozhikode and a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Health Minister KK Shailaja said in Kozhikode on Friday.

Mass vaccination drive

Shailaja, who presided over a meeting of District Medical Officers in Kozhikode earlier, said that the effort under the ‘Crushing Curve’ campaign would be to vaccinate the maximum number of people above the age of 45 in the State for which the State government would seek the services of the local bodies.

The government has requested the Centre to release maximum possible number of vaccines to the State. Shailaja said that ‘a good number of those above the age of 60’ have already received the jab. The effort is to ensure vaccines for the rest of the population, who will be served as per the Centre’s protocol.

Vast vulnerable sections

The latest serosurveillance survey in the State had reported that only 11 per cent of its population had been exposed to the virus, leaving a big 89 per cent vulnerable in the ongoing second big spread. The government is committed to shoring up its defences, and will open even more first line treatment centres, if needed.

“There has been too much crowding due to the elections and the hectic campaign that preceded it. People were not willing to observe the specific protocols. We are now faced with the adverse results. The month of April is going to be crucial, judging from the current increase in daily new cases,” Shailaja said.

To enforce compliance

The government will enforce the Covid-19 protocols from now on, she added. It will strengthen preventive measures and will not allow any relaxations in the protocols under any circumstances. There is a need for raising public alert against the grave threat of a second wave that is almost upon us, she said.

Meanwhile, news about the Chief Minister as well Oommen Chandy testing positive within the space of a few hours broke late on Thursday which also saw new daily infection count in the current wave surge past the 4,000-mark after climbing from a low of 1,000-odd earlier in March.

The State is witnessing another infection spiral following intense political campaigning ahead of the Assembly elections on April 6 that saw all protocols being thrown to the winds with crowds milling in major towns and cities as State and national-level leaders held rallies and road shows.

Poll history, repeated

This resembled the situation emerging immediately after the intensely fought local body elections in the state in December 2020, preceded by an equally intense campaign from as early as October and a busy festival season earlier. This had led to a spike in the numbers, which was on the mend until February.

The Chief Minister had taken the first dose of the Covid vaccine in the first week of March. The Department of Health has now advised all members of his personal staff and their families as well as other officials acting in close proximity to go on quarantine and get themselves tested.

Having been the face of the fight against the virus, the Chief Minister had been careful about not getting himself infected and wore a mask always. But the fact that he was the sole mass leader of his party for the campaign saw thousands attend his rallies in total violation of all Covid-19 protocols.

Chandy develops symptoms

Meanwhile, Oommen Chandy, his compatriot in the Congress developed some symptoms, including fever, after the campaign ended. He was kept under observation at his house in the State capital over the past two days. He has now been shifted to a private hospital today (Friday) but is doing well, according to a Facebook post by son Chandy Oommen.

Two mass leaders falling sick was symptomatic of the new crisis staring the State as it added 4,353 new virus cases to its tally when 63,901 samples were tested on Thursday. The test positivity rate clawed its way back to 6.81 per cent from three per cent, after being coerced back from two-digits earlier.

Active case pool rises

The active case pool stood at 33,621 patients on Thursday, having sprung back from a low of less than 24,000 in March. The day alone saw 759 people being newly admitted to hospitals in the state with Covid-19 virus while 11,272 persons were newly added to home or institutional quarantine.

The district of Ernakulam reported the maximum number of new cases with 654, followed by Kozhikode (453); Thiruvananthapuram (444); and Thrissur (393), among others. Addition of 18 new deaths in the past few days to the official list of Covid-19 fatalities on Thursday took the cumulative toll to 4,728.




Published on April 09, 2021

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