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What was right about Kerala’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  1. Jaideep C Menon1,2,
  2. PS Rakesh2,
  3. Denny John2,
  4. Rajesh Thachathodiyl2,
  5. Amitava Banerjee3
  1. 1Cardiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India
  2. 2Department of Public Health, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, Kerala, India
  3. 3Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jaideep C Menon; menon7jc{at}

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Summary box

  • Kerala is among the states, that has high recovery rate, low death rate and slow progression, of COVID-19 cases in India.

  • The actions taken by the Government of Kerala in managing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic is recognised by policymakers, public, researchers and clinicians, in India and internationally.

  • The COVID-19 management and control received the highest political and administrative commitment with proactive timely interventions.

  • Despite having a low per capita income, the state has its social development indicators, such as human development index, infant mortality rate, sex ratio and female literacy rates, comparable to those of many developed countries.

  • Several key strategies implemented by the state; surveillance, good quality quarantine, testing strategies, uninterrupted treatment services, community participation, proactive care of elderly and people with comorbidity and educational and social mobilisation of behavioural change, contributed to effective management and control of COVID-19 in Kerala.


COVID-19 was declared as a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ by WHO on 30 January 2020.1 As on 29 June 2020, the disease has affected more than 10 million individuals, spread to all countries of the world and has led to death of 0.5 million.2 In India the count of those affected by COVID-19 has crossed 5.4 million with a death toll of 16 487, with Maharashtra reporting the highest number of infections (0.16 million cases) followed by Delhi (83 077), Tamil Nadu (82 275) and Gujarat (31 397), as on 29 June 2020.3

In India, Kerala was the first state affected by COVID-19, and the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Thrissur district on 30 January 2020. By early March the state soon had the highest number of active cases in India mainly due to a huge number of cases imported from other countries and states. Using the five components of trace, quarantine, test, isolate and …

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