As India grapples with containing the coronavirus pandemic, stories of hope and solidarity are emerging from Kerala.
Over the weekend, a viral video showed a patient who had recovered from the novel coronavirus leaving the Kasargod General Hospital to applause from fellow Covid-19 patients.
Suhail, who had returned from Dubai and was under treatment at the hospital for 12 days, is a native of Kasaragod, the worst affected district in Kerala.
The cheer and support seen in the video echoes the hope the Kerala government has been trying to diffuse into its tweets and daily press conferences.
The briefing and press interaction by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state health minister K.K. Shailaja at 6 pm every day have become regular viewing for people in the state.
While the CM has also been sharing tweet updates with the message “We shall overcome”, health minister Shailaja has been tweeting out photos of people who have recovered from the virus.
An elderly couple from Pathanamthitta who had contracted the virus from their son was discharged from the Kottayam Medical College Hospital last week.
“When we read the newspapers, all we saw was death being reported. Nobody spoke of recovery. We stopped reading the news. We concentrated on getting better, and that’s how today, everybody, including my grandparents have recovered,” their son Rijo told The Print.
“It is a huge achievement for the state especially when COVID19 patients above the age of 60 are considered in the high risk category across globe,” Shailaja wrote about the couple’s recovery.
The family, which had been previously reprimanded for hiding their travel history, has apologised for their mistake.
On Friday, the health minister shared a photo of the state’s first health worker to be infected with Covid-19 leaving after recovering from the disease.
Thirty-two-year-old Reshma Mohandas had taken care of the elderly couple at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital.
Reshma said she had posted a message saying “I will leave this room within a week after defeating you (coronavirus)” on a WhatsApp group of her friends and colleagues.
“I posted that message in the WhatsApp group because I have full faith in Kerala″s health system. It is world class,” Reshma Mohandas told PTI.
Based on data of patients in India who tested positive for Covid-19 between March 9 and 20, Kerala has the highest rate of recovery at 84%. As a whole, the recovery rate in Kerala is 17% compared to Maharashtra’s 5.5% and Delhi’s 4.04%, Economic Times reported.
Part of Kerala’s measures to combat the novel coronavirus have also included tackling the stigma associated with the disease.
The chief minister has time and again emphasised that foreigners and NRIs in the state must not be ostracised by people for fear of carrying the disease. He has also encouraged the use of the phrase ‘guest workers’ for labourers who have come to Kerala for work from other states.
Last week, Pinarayi addressed the targeting of people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, saying “Virus knows no religion, it also doesn’t differentiate. We’re all in this together. Remember, it takes all of us to win this battle,”