New Delhi, September 3: Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja was ranked first in a list of "Top Thinker 2020" compiled by British magazine Prospect. The UK-based publication has formulated the rankings based upon the voting choice of over 20,000 respondents, along with the opinion sought from a panel of experts.

Shailaja was followed by Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand who has won global praise for her fight against COVID-19. The list of 50 top thinkers of 2020 comprised politicians, economists, artists and intellectuals. Notably, the the majority in the list, 26, are women. New Zealand Election 2020: PM Jacinda Ardern Delays General Elections to October 17 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

Shailaja was placed on the first spot for her effective handling of the Nipah virus in 2018, and the use of that experience to curb COVID-19 impact in Kerala this year. The magazine lauded her role for implementing the "trace, test, isolate" strategy since January - when many world leaders were suspecting coronavirus as a China-specific epidemic.

"When Covid-19 was still 'a China story' in January, she not only accurately foresaw its inevitable arrival, but also fully grasped the implications. She rapidly got the WHO’s full 'test, trace and isolate' drill implemented in the state, and bought crucial time by getting a grip of the airports, and containing the first cases to arrive on Chinese flights,” it read.

The honour for Shailaja, also referred to as Shailaja teacher due to her academic background, comes days after another leading UK publication - The Guardian - referred to her in a full-page article as "coronavirus slayer" and "rockstar health minister".

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 03, 2020 03:48 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website