As the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state touched 41,971 on Saturday, Kerala Chief Minister-designate Pinarayi Vijayan called for more pro-active involvement of local bodies to fight the pandemic's second wave. Talking to the media, he urged all local bodies to form ward level committees for COVID-19 management.
"In the first phase of COVID-19, it was the ward-level committees that worked the most well. In this phase, ward-level committees are not so active in many places. There are even local bodies that still don't have ward-level committees. Shunning carelessness, form committees in all wards," Pinarayi Vijayan directed.
It is important that the ward-level committees visit houses in their wards and assess the general situation, he said. "The exact level of disease spread should be identified and measures that are to be taken should be reported to the local bodies," he added.
The state is facing more challenges in the present second wave, as the pathogen strain is more virulent and is spreading fast, Pinarayi Vijayan added.
The Chief Minister, who held a meeting with representatives of local bodies, also directed them to mobilise the people and use all their resources to form a strong defence in the fight against COVID-19 by joining hands with the government.
"There is a shortage of medical facilities in some local bodies. There are not enough CFLTCs or CLTCs or centres for those who cannot afford treatment at home. Such issues must be addressed urgently. Suitable places to open Covid treatment centres should be identified and prepared immediately. As part of this, adequate health workers, volunteers and cleaners should be found," he said.
It is the responsibility of the ward level committees to ensure that the needs of people are addressed, which includes wherever needed food should be given besides procuring medicines and such things, CM said.
Read: Food to hospitalisation: How Kerala local bodies are helping COVID-19 patients
Kerala recorded 41,971 fresh cases on Saturday, pushing the COVID-19 caseload to 18,66,827, while the toll mounted to 5,746 with 64 more deaths. Active cases stood at 4.17 lakh and at least 27,456 people were cured today, taking the total recoveries to 14,43,633. In the last 24 hours,1,48,546 samples were tested and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) was 28.25 per cent. So far, 1,69,09,361 samples have been tested.
At the panchayat and municipality levels, a core team should be formed. "Places where the TPR is over 28 per cent, more caution needs to be extended," Vijayan said.
Enough ambulances should be ensured at treatment centres, he said, adding motorbikes can never replace ambulances, referring to an incident in which a seriously ill patient was transported on a bike from Punnapra domiciliary centre in Alappuzha district to save the person's life as an ambulance was not available.
With lockdown coming into force in the state from Saturday, the chief minister said the response of the people on the first day was satisfactory. â€śPeople should not come out unnecessarily from their homes. Only in emergency situations, will a person be allowed to travel outside the district,â€ť he said.
"They will have to get an online pass for travel. Only those who are in dire need to travel should apply for the online pass. One can apply for the pass at https://pass.bsafe.kerala.gov.
"Domestic workers and labourers under the essential services category who do not have an identity card can apply online. Their employers can also apply for them. Once the travel permit is obtained, the pass can be downloaded from this website itself," he said.
A self-declaration was sufficient for those going for vaccination and for those going to the nearest shops to buy essential items. "A sample declaration is also available on this website and this can be prepared on a white paper in this format," Vijayan added.
(With input from agencies)