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Coronavirus: UN honors Kerala Health Minister for tackling COVID-19 pandemic

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday was among those honored for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic by the United Nations. "When COVID-19 cases got reported in Wuhan, Kerala got into the track of the WHO and followed every standard operating protocol and international norms," she said.

KK Shailaja, the Health Minister of Kerala, has been honored by the United Nations on World Public Service Day 2020, for her untiring efforts to control a pandemic situation in her state. After seeing how Kerala handled the coronavirus situation, KK Shailaja has been much sought after and ministers of other states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have taken her guidance to stem the COVID-19 curve. The United Nations awarded her for the exemplary work and invited her to speak at a panel discussion on COVID-19.

On Twitter, many of her admirers congratulated her calling KK Shailaja the “new face of India” and “pride of Kerala”.

The first COVID-19 case had been detected in Kerala on January 31. The carrier was a person who had come from Wuhan, the coronavirus epicenter of the world. By March, Kerala and Maharashtra had the maximum number of COVID-19 cases. But thanks to the prompt and targeted handling of the situation by KK Shailaja and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the numbers started going down by mid- April. States including those under the BJP started adopting the “Kerala model“.

Led by KK Shailaja, Kerala showed the way of contact tracing of COVID-19 infected people. Relentlessly door-to-door surveys were conducted and strict action was taken if guidelines were not followed. The state also deftly handled the influx of people from outside as workers who were in Middle Eastern countries were flown back. There were also hundreds of international tourists in the state when the complete lockdown was announced.  Not only handling COVID-19, the leadership in Kerala, chalked out a smart financial policy as millions were affected economically by the lockdown. A careful exit strategy made sure that COVID-19 cases did not spike.

KK Shailaja is always close to the ‘corona warriors‘ of her state. On Nurses Week amid the COVID-19 crisis, she interacted with scores of nurses via video conference and appreciated their selfless work.

The Health Minister is also known for her communication skills. Over video calls she constantly keeps in touch with the health workers of her state.

The United Nations, every year on June 23, observes the world public service day to appreciate and pay respect to public servants across the world. The UN had started a recognition program – the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) in 2003, to reward the excellent work done by public servants.

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