COVID-19: Union Minister lambasts Kerala Health Minister

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(EDS: Upgrading) Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 14 (PTI): Union Minister V Muraleedharan on Thursday alleged that Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja had failed in containing the spread of COVID-19 and had instead been busy getting herself on the cover page of fashion magazines.

Muraleedharan told reporters here that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had failed in fighting the pandemic and wanted Chief Minister Vijayan to clarify who was responsible for the failure.

'Kerala is now a state reportingthe most number of cases in a single day. The Chief Minister and the Health Minister have misled the people and worsened the situation. The situation in five districts is worse,' Muraleedharan said.

The Union Minister further said if the credit for success in COVID-19 prevention activities goes to the state government, the Chief Minister should then clarify who was responsible for the present situation.

'Is it his fault or that of the Health Minister?In her hurry to be the face of fashion magazines, has the Health Minister become unaware of the current situation?,' the Union Minister asked.

'Thoughthe state had claimed to have flattened the curve months ago, we had warned the government not to mislead the people by giving them over-confidence', he said adding a propaganda had been spread across the worldsaying Kerala was fighting the pandemic better.

'Many major media-houses have written articles praising the Health Minister for her wondrous powers. But, now all of them are silent. The Chief Minister and the Health Minister should make it clear on what index they are repeating that Kerala is number-one in fighting the pandemic,' Muraleedharan said.

Also, he said the state government had worsened the situation by opening cinema halls.

However, while speaking to PTI on January8, Shailaja had said it was meaningless to say Kerala's situation is worse.

She had said the state managed to maintain a low fatality rate even as it was in a vulnerable position with high population density, high number of old-age population and the most number of diabetics.

'The rise in the number of cases is due to a robust surveillance and reporting system. We managed to delay the peak of the pandemic and upgraded the threshold of our health system,' she had said.

'Our ultimate aim is to save the lives of the people and reduce the mortality rate. Even with this high number of cases, we managed to reduce the death rate,' Minister had said.

With three more UK returnees to Kerala testing positive for the new variant of COVID-19, nine persons have so far been infected with the strain in the state.

The state on Thursday reported 5,490 COVID-19 cases while 4,337 have been cured of the infection, taking the total caseload to 8,31,259 and recoveries to 7,61,154.

The active cases touched 66,503. PTI RRT NVG NVG