Kerala on Tuesday was among those honoured for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic when the United Nations celebrated the Public Service Day.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other top UN dignitaries who applauded all the leaders which included state Health Minister KK Shailaja for effectively tackling Coronavirus at a felicitation programme, held on a virtual platform.

Speaking on the occasion, Shailaja noted that the experiences of tackling Nipah virus and the two floods – 2018 and 2019 – where the health sector played a crucial role, all helped in tackling COVID-19 timely.

“Right from the time when Covid cases got reported in Wuhan, Kerala got into the track of the WHO and followed every standard operating protocols and international norms and hence, we have been able to keep the contact spread rate to below 12.5 per cent and the mortality rate to 0.6 per cent,” she said.

The Kerala government’s measures, including extensive testing and efforts to trace people who came in contact with coronavirus-infected persons, have helped in curbing spreading of infections in the state. The state public healthcare system has also been appreciated in various quarters.

Kerala was the first state in the country to report the coronavirus infection in late January. Three students, who had returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan, were tested positive and have recovered. Wuhan was the epicentre of coronavirus infections before it spread to other countries.

The state’s Coronavirus tally touched 3,503 on Tuesday with 141 positive cases being reported as Kerala witnessing a spike of over 100 cases for the fifth straight day, as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sounded an alarm that the situation was becoming “grave”.