With three districts in Kerala -- Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam - seeing a rise in the coronavirus cases, the state's Health Minister Veena George on Friday said that there was no need for concern.
Following a high-level review meeting on COVID-19, George said that although there is a slight increase in the number of infections in the state currently, the cases are only of the Omicron variant of the virus.
"Covid situation was assessed in the meeting. The highest number of Covid cases are in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam districts. These districts need special attention. Those with symptoms should be tested," she said.
The Health Minister further said that taking precautions and the COVID-19 vaccine is essential.
"It is important to live with COVID. Everyone must wear masks. Measures should be taken to protect elderly people and bed-ridden patients. All those who have to take the second dose of COVID vaccine and precautionary dose should take it. Health workers must take the precautionary dose," George said.
She further said that with the decrease in cases of COVID-19, many people were reluctant to take the second dose and the precautionary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"It would be dangerous. It is estimated that COVID deaths are higher among those who have not been vaccinated and those who have comorbidities. If people with comorbidities have Covid symptoms, they should seek immediate treatment," George said.
Discussing the status of COVID-19 vaccination, the Health Minister said that about 100 per cent of people over the age of 18 have taken their first dose of the vaccine, but only 88 per cent have taken the second dose. While only 22 per cent took the precautionary dose.
The first dose was given to 83 per cent of children aged 15 to 17 years and the second dose to 55 per cent of children. The first dose was given to 54 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 years and the second dose to 15 per cent of children.
"Field workers will be tasked with compiling a list of those who have not been vaccinated locally and ensuring that they are vaccinated. Vaccines will be given to all children. Steps will be taken to vaccinate all children in consultation with the department of education in the wake of school re-opening," George said.
The Health Minister also directed to take special attention to infectious diseases, especially the Nipah virus and rabies.
As per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Kerala logged 734 COVID cases in the last 24 hours, taking the active cases in the state to 6,990.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to officials of five states including Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu to closely monitor emerging clusters of CCOVID-19 cases and maintain an adequate number of tests, and send samples from infected individuals for genome sequencing.