Amid the spike in Covid-19 cases in Kerala, the state will continue with its night curfew and Sunday lockdowns. Only essential services were allowed in the state as police carried out strict enforcement of lockdown rules. Earlier, on September 4, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a press conference after holding a meeting to review the state’s COVID-19 situation, confirmed that the state will continue with its night curfew and Sunday lockdowns.

The Chief Minister also informed that Kerala reported 29,682 new COVID-19 cases, 25,910 recoveries, and 142 deaths on Saturday. The number of active cases in the state stood at 2,50,065 while the death toll logged was 21,422. The test positivity rate was recorded at 17.54 per cent. Vijayan also said that the post-Onam increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was not as high as was anticipated.

Stating that Kerala is facing a severe shortage of vaccine doses in some places, Vijayan stated that as informed by the Centre, the state is scheduled to receive 9,97,570 doses on Sunday. Vijayan said, “We are facing a severe shortage of vaccine doses in some places in the state. The Centre has informed us that we will receive 9,97,570 doses of vaccine on Sunday.” The Kerala Chief Minister stated that with COVID-19 vaccination “progressing at a great pace”, the state government is hoping to achieve herd immunity soon.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through the previous infection. WHO supports achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccination, not by allowing disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.

Herd immunity against COVID-19 should be achieved by protecting people through vaccination, not by exposing them to the pathogen that causes the disease. Vijayan further stated, “Health experts have opined that considering all these reasons the recent surge in covid cases in Kerala should not be very worrying. The government held a discussion with health experts at the national and international level to assess the covid situation in Kerala.”

Vijayan said that the Kerala government has decided to form neighborhood watch committees with government employees, volunteers, and residents association as members. If anyone breaks quarantine rules they will be fined and will also be kept in paid quarantine centers, he added. He also said that police services will be used to ensure that COVID-19 positive people are staying in quarantine at their homes. He further said that a case will be registered against those violating quarantine rules, adding that police motorcycle teams will be deputed to keep a check.

The Chief Minister also officially announced ‘be the warrior ‘ campaign to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection in the state. The Chief Minister handed over the logo of the campaign to state Health Minister Veena George. The campaign was organized by the state health department. Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Vijayan said, “Self-defense is most important. Everyone must save themselves from COVID-19. The campaign aims to ensure that everyone wears a mask, cleans their hands frequently with soap, water, or sanitizer, maintains physical distance, and takes two doses of vaccine to take part in the fight against COVID-19. We can’t go to the lockdown all the time. Life and livelihood must be protected at the same time. It is a condition that COVID-19 can be infected by anyone. So everyone should be cautious.”

He stated that the main objective of this campaign is to reduce the severity of the third wave and to intensify the vaccination drive. As a result of the preventive measures taken by the state so far, many people have been saved from contracting the disease, said the Chief Minister, adding that efforts are being made to make everyone safe by vaccinating as soon as the vaccine is available. Vijayan informed that the campaign also aims to educate the general public on the importance of SMS campaigns, (Soap, Mask, Social Distance ), pass only the official guidelines of the department of health, observe reverse quarantine and prevent the spread of the disease to the elderly, children and inpatients.

“As part of this, an active effort will be made to raise awareness about the importance and responsibility of every citizen in the fight against covid through newspapers, visual, audio, social media, and other means across the state. Each of us can be a selfless warrior in the fight against the covid pandemic,” added the Chief Minister. (ANI)