THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala is not yet free from the second wave of COVID-19 and therefore people should be extra cautious and vigilant against transmission of the infection to prevent a third wave from occurring, Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday.
At a special meeting held to review the state's preparedness to handle a third wave, George said about half of the population of Kerala was susceptible to the virus and therefore, precautions have to be taken as presence of the highly contagious delta variant has been detected, according to a state government release.
She said that people need to take precautions like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing and isolation till the majority of the populace is vaccinated. The minister said if a third wave hits before the vaccination reaches everyone, the severity of the infection and those requiring hospitalisation would be high.
Once vaccines are available in sufficient quantities, immunization would be carried out on a war footing, she said, adding that the health department was well equipped to handle the same. Precautions should also be taken after being vaccinated, she said.
The release said that at the meeting, ensuring oxygen availability and treatment facilities in the event of a third wave was also discussed. It was also decided to utilise funds available under central and state government schemes, Corporate Social Responsibility and donations by voluntary organisations to set up oxygen generation units.
George directed the Kerala Medical Services Corporation to ensure that 33 oxygen generation units, which will produce 77 metric tonnes of oxygen, set up in different parts of the state, are made operational by August itself,the release said.
The minister also directed the department heads to ensure stockpiling of COVID medical supplies in medical colleges and other medical centers.