Kerala COVID-19, KK Shailaja, Staying Safe

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja talks about the precautions she takes to stay Covid-19 free

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has taken over the world. There’s Covid-19 terror all over the globe. Not only are the common people testing positive,
ministers, actors, everyone are struggling with the pandemic.

The first case of coronavirus was found in Kerala, over six months back. The number of cases has been increasing ever since. Recently, the State
health minister K.K. Shailaja, 63, spoke about the necessary precautions she took to stay Covid-19 free.

She said, “I follow all the guidelines that I urge other people to follow. Since we have launched the ‘Break the Chain’ program, I am very particular about not flouting any protocol. I maintain physical distance, wear a mask, wash my hands, and use hand sanitizer frequently.”

“I don’t remove my mask even when I am sitting alone in the office. I take extra care to maintain a two-meter distance when I talk to people. But still, you never know, you can contract the virus from anywhere,” she added.

When asked if she got herself tested for coronavirus, she said, “Not yet. I have not had any symptoms so far.” She further talks about her routine amidst the pandemic. She said, “Once, I had to be in self-isolation at my official residence for four days. A person who had served us tea at a function had come in contact with a Covid-19 patient. I then worked from home and attended meetings online. I washed my plates and glasses myself. Later, the COVID suspect tested negative and I returned to work.”

Talking about the precautions taken by the minister, she said, “I had 25 staff members at office, but since the pandemic hit, only half of them have been
coming. The office is sanitized every day. While holding daily meetings with the health secretary and health director in person, I practice social distancing. The meetings with the district authorities are conducted online after 7 pm and can go on till 10 pm.”

She further talks about her personal life and says, “Earlier, I used to go home (to Kannur) every Friday and return to Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday evening. Since the pandemic struck, I have visited my family only once, that too after a gap of two-and-a-half months. Now, it has been over two months since I visited them.”

When K.K Shailaja was asked how she manages to keep her mind off the pandemic, she said, “It’s always on my mind. Even when I go to sleep, I am
worried about the number of deaths. I wonder how we will get out of this.”

“I reach my official residence only after 10 pm and get time to talk to my family around 11 pm. My husband, son, his wife, and my two-year-old grand-daughter keep waiting for my call. My grand-daughter shows me her drawings on video calls.

Talking to her helps me manage my stress. I talk about household matters with my husband. I also speak to my elder son who lives in Abu Dhabi with
his wife and three-year-old son. After that, I read newspaper articles and editorials. At times, I watch videos on YouTube. I go to sleep around 12.30-1 am and get up by 6 am, and the cycle begins again,” she added.

When asked about her plans after the pandemic, she said, “I want to visit all the health workers in Kerala’s 14 districts. I want to hear their concerns in
person. I also want to focus on other health projects that have been pending. And, I want to meet my husband and family. That will be the best rest for me.”