Former Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has praised K K Shailaja, health minister in the Southern Indian state of Kerala, for her proactive and bold leadership in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 in the state.

Kerala reported India’s first coronavirus case in January. But the state has recorded an impressive recovery rate and flattening of the COVID-19 curve.

Of all 642 confirmed cases in the state, only three lives have been lost and 497 people have been discharged from hospitals after full recovery.

In a letter to Shailaja dated May 18, Wickremesinghe said, “As the minister of health you have demonstrated that effective disease control is possible even if resources are limited.”

“Your leadership in responding proactively and boldly has made this possible.”.

The 63-year-old minister has won international acclaim for her leadership during the Nipah and coronavirus outbreaks in Kerala. She also got the nickname ‘coronaslayer’.

Wickremesinghe also pointed out that intensive testing was the key to success in Kerala’s fight against the COVID-19.  The former prime minister, in early March, told an all-party meeting in Sri Lanka that intense testing was the solution to check the virus spread.

Sri Lanka has recorded 1,027 coronavirus cases with over half of them recovering. So far, the virus has claimed nine lives in the country.

The island-nation has eased its lockdown drastically since last week with only two districts being under curfew. Even in those areas, offices and businesses have reopened under health guidelines.