Ernakulam: With more and more people getting tested positive for Omicron; with the 49 new cases reported on Wednesday itself, the Kerala state government has intensified precautionary measures to tackle the pandemic effectively.
In the meantime, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has come up criticising the government in the way the pandemic has been handled. “The state government tackles the menace not on the basis of scientific studies. The government's Covid policy is biased and is influenced by a lot of factors, including financial, social, political etc. At least now, the government must be willing for an open discussion with IMA and other health experts to finalise an action plan to tackle the pandemic effectively,” said Dr. Samuel Koshy, State President IMA.
He also said that the state government's unilateral approach in dealing with the pandemic is unfair. “We have expressed our concern a number of times but of no use,” he added.
Since the Minister for Health, Veena George, issued a direction to all officials, except the director for health services and health secretary, not to communicate with media, an official of the health department told Mathrubhumi.com on condition of anonymity that there is no need for such discussions as the department frames Covid policies after consulting health experts in the department. “Nearly 100 countries have been placed in the 'high-risk' group. The travelers from these countries have to test at airports upon landing by paying money from their pocket. A random test among 20 percent passengers from 'non-risk' countries is conducted at the expense of the government. If tested positive, one has to go on quarantine at selected hospitals for seven days. On the eighth day, a test is to be held; if negative, home quarantine for another seven days is mandated. During home quarantine, Covid-19 test is done by visiting health workers at home. Those who are tested negative can go home under self-quarantine for 14-days and a test has to be held on the eighth day. If tested positive, contact tracing and hospitalisation will be held,” said the official.
With effective and coordinated efforts, we could extend the pandemic's peak stages twice, said the official. “With the lessons learned from the two waves, we can courageously face the third wave. People are not vigilant against the virus now. It is so dangerous as we are going to enter a difficult period. The virus spreads very drastically and there is no doubt that the number of cases will be high in the coming months. All should wear masks properly, keep social distance and wash hands frequently to fight the virus,” added the official.
The health department is fully equipped to face any unforeseen circumstances. There are enough beds, ICUs, ventilators etc to meet any situation, claimed the official. Mathrubhumi.com tried to contact the health secretary, director of health services and the minister; but were unavailable for comments.
Public health expert Dr. SS Lal urged all to finish two doses of vaccine without fail and to be very cautious. “We have to wait till February to know how intense the spread of this virus is and its severity. Our health system has improved a lot after we faced two waves of the pandemic. It is not enough, the state government must do the needful in appointing enough staff in hospitals on war footing. After all, treatment must be ensured for people who are financially weak. There must be an end to all sorts of rumours that spread through social media. All must be responsible and the health department must issue guidelines in accordance with the situation after proper discussion with IMA and other health experts,” said Lal.