Masks mandatory in Kerala amid rapid surge in Omicron variant, guidelines issuedtext_fields
The Kerala government has intensified preventive measures against Covid-19 in the state making face masks mandatory for people, particularly pregnant women, children and the elderly as the state witnessed a surge in the number of infections.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, active cases in Kerala rose by 578 to 4,953 on April 1. The total number of active cases in India is 18,389.
As per the guidelines issued by Health Minister Veena George’s office, no hospital in the state should deny treatment to COVID-19 patients, and separate beds are to be prepared for them.
The samples of the patients should be sent for whole genome sequencing from every district.
The guidelines stress that people who suffer from diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, heart or kidney diseases and lung ailments should wear masks in public places and hospitals.
Pregnant women, children and elderly people have also been advised to do that. People accompanying patients to hospitals must also wear masks. The same applies to health workers in hospitals as well.
Those aged above 60 and having co-morbidities should take RT PCR tests if they show signs of influenza or other symptoms of COVID-19. ASHA workers and field workers have been entrusted in checking on pregnant women for signs of the disease and ensuring timely treatment.
The need for awareness on taking vaccination and precautions against COVID-19 has also been stressed in the guidelines. It also says that a patient who requires treatment for COVID-19 should be able to get it, and a fixed number of beds should be arranged in both government and private hospitals for the pandemic.
If patients who are admitted to hospitals for other reasons test positive for the coronavirus, they should be treated in the same hospital. District Medical Officers should ensure that all hospitals follow this.
Minister Veena George also asked Kerala Medical Services Corporation to ensure enough stock of test kits and safety equipment like PPE kits, gloves and masks.
While the number of cases was very low in February, the state saw a sharp rise in the number of active cases during March. On Thursday, Kerala reported 765 cases.
Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts topped the list of active cases. The genome-sequencing of collected samples revealed that the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading in Kerala.