The Thrissur Pooram festival is an annual temple festival of Kerala is scheduled to happen on April 23rd. The increasing number of Covid-19 positive cases has not provoked the decision-makers to reconsider or cancel the festival as it has greatly been opposed by various political parties of Kerala as well as the temple committees.
Kerala's Health Minister, K.K. Shailaja on Saturday said that the Thrissur Pooram festival could not be entirely cancelled as several preparations have already been done in view of the festival. She added that even though conducting the festival might be dangerous in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, the cancellation of the festival will cause several other problems. "Many preparations have been made for the festival, so it is not possible to cancel it entirely. It will cause many problems. Clear instructions have been given to conduct it with caution, which the Devaswom committee has been agreed to. Even those who test negative should still wear masks, apply sanitizers and keep as much distance as possible from each other," Minister Shailaja said to The News Minute. The minister further affirmed that no one would be allowed to attend the festival until they produce valid documents certifying they have been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine or have been tested Covid-19 negative.
Kerala Faces Vaccine Shortages
The Kerala Government asked for 50 lakh vaccines from the Union Government on Saturday. So far, 60,84,360 doses have been sent by the Union Government, out of which 56,75,138 doses have been administered. The state has started a mass vaccination campaign and urged that the doses are urgently required, saying that the state would suffer if the doses are not provided immediately.
After a meeting with the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Shailaja said, "Like the rest of the country, Kerala too has been seeing a sudden surge in cases since the end of March. We are trying to destroy this second wave by crushing the curve. We have amped up testing. Bulk testing – about 2.5 lakh in two days – is being done, giving priority to people aged under 45 who've had mass contact and those above 45 who have not been vaccinated yet."
So far 1.39 crore tests have been conducted in Kerala and the tests per million is even better than the National Average. She further affirmed that the death rate of the state is still low and the state is well equipped with medical facilities of all kind and prepared to endure a surge of cases.
"The death rate is also still low, at 0.4%. Other states reported not having sufficient hospital space or oxygen supply to accommodate all the patients. Because of diligent planning, Kerala is equipped with facilities for different categories of patients," she Shailaja, "Asymptomatic patients who have facilities at home (a separate room and a toilet) will be quarantined at home. If there are no such facilities at home, the local self-governing body will arrange accommodation at domiciliary care centres. B category patients – with minor symptoms – will be admitted at district level COVID second-line treatment centres. The C category patients with serious difficulties will be treated at government hospitals. But we don't expect many C category patients even in the second wave," she added.