THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has termed the state government’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions in view of Bakrid an “unwarranted and inappropriate” measure during a medical emergency. It has also warned of approaching the Supreme Court if the state fails to withdraw the order easing curbs. In a statement, the national body of doctors also cautioned that a third wave of the pandemic may be inevitable if appropriate steps are not taken. Demanding the government to withdraw the order immediately, the IMA asked the state to enforce zero-tolerance against Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Even as the Covid test positivity rate (TPR) continues to remain above 10%, the state government has eased restrictions for three days from Sunday, allowing seamless functioning of shops in local body areas where Covid TPR is below 15%. It has also allowed the shops in areas under triple lockdown to open on Monday. In Kerala, Bakrid is celebrated on Wednesday.
“When many northern states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have stopped, with a constructive sense of public safety, the traditional and popular pilgrimage yatras, it is unfortunate that Kerala had taken this decision which will pave way for mass gathering,” said a joint statement issued by the IMA national president J A Jayalal and secretary-general Jayesh Lele.The IMA statement, while being critical of the state government, was in full praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “visionary call” to stop revenge tourism and cancelling religious celebrations and pilgrimages.
The state chapter of IMA had issued a statement on July 14 criticising the government for unscientific lockdown as it was “causing more harm than good”. It appeared that the stands of national and state units of IMA differed — the former favouring more restrictions and the latter for relaxation. However, an IMA representative in the state said its statement was against causing crowding.
Need a long-term strategy amid pandemic, says IMA
“The lockdown strategy of the government to restrict the functioning of shops resulted in crowding. We wanted the shops to open on all days but at the same time the government should also ensure strict measures for social distancing and Covid control. A continuous lockdown is not feasible and we want a long-term strategy to live with the pandemic for a few more years,” said IMA state general secretary Gopikumar P. The state continued to have the highest new positive cases and TPR among major states. The state along with Maharashtra contribute over 50% of the Covid cases in the country. While a section of health experts have termed the high plateauing of TPR as a result of the containment strategies adopted by the state, the inability to reduce it below 10% has become a concern for both state and Central governments.