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KK Shailaja – Health Minister & Former Science Teacher Leading Kerala’s Fight Against COVID-19

The state which was the first to report COVID-19 in India, back in January. And in a matter of days, the state swung into action on a war footing level, anticipating the explosion of cases that were to follow. The COVID-19 response of Kerala was spearheaded by state health minister KK Shailaja or Shailaja Teacher as she is fondly called. As the health minister, Shailaja had the experience of tackling another epidemic – the Nipah Virus outbreak in the state in 2018. Though it was on a much smaller scale, the Nipah, which just like COVID-19 had no known medication and had all the potential to be a disaster. But aggressive testing, contact tracing, and hospitalization meant that the state managed to reduce the death toll to just 19. The Kerala response had even won praises from the WHO.