KK Shailaja Honoured As Top Thinker By UK’s Prospect Magazine

The Kerala health minister has been lauded for how swiftly she dealt with the coronavirus.

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On 2 September, UK's Prospect magazine released a list of "The world’s top 50 thinkers 2020" which placed Kerala health minister KK Shailaja at the top. Shailaja is followed by New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and architect Marina Tabassum.

According to the magazine, 20,000 votes were cast and counted in a public ballot. The list is focussed on thinkers in the 'COVID-19 age.'

Praising her work, the magazine writes, “When Covid-19 was still “a China story” in January, she not only accurately foresaw its inevitable arrival, but also fully grasped the implications.”

Prospect magazin also writes about how Shailaja swiftly implemented the WHO's "test, trace and isolate" drill. She managed to contain the virus by tracing the first Chinese flights arriving in India. When the virus returned after subsiding for some rime, Shailaja ensured "rigorous surveillance and quarantine."

Shailaja has led by example. In all her official meetings, that often go on till 10 pm, social distancing is strictly followed. She also only communicates with her grandchildren via Zoom.

Hailed as the “coronavirus slayer” by The Guardian, KK Shailja’s work in containing the coronavirus in Kerala has been applauded across the world.

In June, the United Nations had invited her to an event. She was the only speaker from India. The event was meant to honour people who have risked their lives to deliver essential services amid the pandemic. At the virtual event, KK Shailaja presented the Kerala model.

(With inputs from Prospect magazine)

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