Avoid crowded places for shopping: Health Secy.

‘People must not forget about precautions just because cases are declining’

Until a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available, it is essential that people follow safety precautions when they are outdoors and avoid crowded places for Deepavali shopping, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said here on Tuesday.

Addressing journalists while inspecting the COVID-19 speciality wing of the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH), he said people must not forget precautions because COVID-19 cases were on the decline across the State. “By not following safety precautions, people are not only fooling themselves, but can affect others too.”

Though the government was constantly creating awareness of the precautions, there was a need for a behavioural change among the public. “By following all safety measures it can be ensured that there is a further decline in the cases…,” he said.

The Health Secretary, along with Collector T.G. Vinay and GRH Dean J. Sangumani, interacted with the patients at the COVID-19 wing.

Later, Dr. Radhakrishnan told The Hindu that the main objective of entering the COVID-19 ward with personal protective equipment (PPE) was to acknowledge the efforts of doctors and paramedical workers who had been working hard for the past seven months, treating COVID-19 patients. “Being in the frontline with the doctors for 40 minutes while wearing PPE will help to boost their morale,” he said.

The team interacted with patients with varying severity of infection, he said. “This will also provide psychosocial support to the patients. It is also to emphasise that there is no need to stigmatise COVID-19 patients,” he said.

The Health Secretary inspected the newly installed oxygen tank at the hospital with a capacity of 20 kl. He said oxygen capacity was increased at tertiary, taluk and non-taluk hospitals across the State.

The positive cases were declining in the State, even after 80,000-95,000 RT-PCR tests were done every day. While all districts had a positivity rate below 10%, it was below 5% in 18 districts, he said. “But the public must cooperate by following safety precautions to further bring down the positivity rate.”

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