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Stakeholders pitch for two-week lockdown to save key sectors

At the same time, trade bodies say the lockdown should be declared only as a last resort. 

Published: 05th May 2021 05:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2021 05:51 AM   |  A+A-

Broadway market in Kochi wears a deserted look on Tuesday. Covid restrictions imposed across the state till Sunday to check the spread of the virus have hit traders hard in the otherwise busy shopping

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the government is moving ahead with enforcing stringent restrictions to contain the spread of Covid, experts in various sectors stressed the need to go for a two-week lockdown to save the industry, including tourism, from the long-term impact of the pandemic. At the same time, trade bodies say the lockdown should be declared only as a last resort. 

Benoy Peter, executive director of Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development, a Kerala-based non-profit organisation, said the trade sector can only move ahead with the active participation of migrant labourers.“The state has been depending on migrants heavily in sectors like marine fishing, furniture, plywood manufacturing, textile and apparel, hospitality and healthcare. Almost all industries in the state engage migrant workers, including migrant women, directly or indirectly. However, the situation is very grim due to the high number of Covid cases among migrants. A majority of the sectors will face closure if the government doesn’t impose a lockdown as an immediate measure to check the Covid spread,” he said.

E M Najeeb, senior vice-president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, and chairperson of the Confederation of Tourism Industry, Kerala, said, “The hospitality sector is the worst-affected. If the situation can improve or be managed with a brief lockdown, the state should explore the option after consultation with health experts,” he said. 

The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) has already urged the government to clamp a two-week lockdown to quell the swell.However, Savio Mathew, head, FICCI Kerala State Council, said, “The lockdown has to be enforced as a last resort. Already, the first lockdown and subsequent aftereffects had bled the industry, especially the tourism sector in the state, the economy of which is heavily dependent on it. The state government has been employing micro-containment and regional lockdown measures to check the spread of the virus.

If the situation worsens, there is no way out other than imposing a lockdown, but it should be a last step,” he said.Health experts said although a lockdown will not  spell the end of the pandemic, it can reduce the pressure on the health resources and slow down the rate of transmission which will help the state combat the pandemic by addressing issues and reinforcing the health system.



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