Coronavirus | Call for total lockdown in Tiruchi

Too close: People crowding a tea shop without following social distancing norms in Tiruchi on Friday.

Too close: People crowding a tea shop without following social distancing norms in Tiruchi on Friday.  

Amid concerns being expressed by doctors over the increase in COVID-19 cases and the poor physical distancing norms followed in public places, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has sought a total lockdown for at least two weeks in Tiruchi.

Describing it as a “message and feedback” and a “note of apprehension” from front-line doctors, the IMA has made a representation to the district administration, seeking the lockdown.

In the communication addressed to the Collector, R. Gunasekaran, president, and B. Senthilvelkumar, secretary, IMA, Tiruchi Branch, pointed out that the number of cases was increasing day by day.

Patients testing positive after CT scans was high, too. Asymptomatic carriers could spread the disease exponentially in the community. “This may result in a deluge-like situation. To add to the problem, healthcare workers are in panic... the [healthcare] delivering mechanism could be jeopardised,” the communication read.

Stating that they were aware of the socio-economic implications of a lockdown and empathised with the hardships that would be faced by individuals, the IMA representatives, however, argued that survival was more important.

Justifying the demand, Dr. Senthilvelkumar said the number of positive cases reported in Tiruchi over the past few days was quite high for a Tier-II city. Doctors treating the COVID-19 patients were also falling sick. “It is important to protect doctors as we need as many hands as possible to treat the patients. If doctors fall sick, they have to isolate themselves for two to three weeks. A lockdown will help reduce the load and give time for doctors to recover,” he said.

The IMA’s demand comes amid concerns aired by a cross-section of doctors in the city over the poor physical distancing norms followed in public places. “Until a vaccine is available, we have no alternative but to adopt physical distancing, maintain hand hygiene and use masks. This should be practised with discipline. But here is hardly any physical distancing visible in public places such as tea stalls, shops and markets,” said M.S. Ashraf, a senior physician of the city and former national vice-president of the IMA.

Urging residents to avoid venturing out needlessly, Dr. Ashraf said that even if someone tested negative in the RT-PCR test, it did not mean they could go out carelessly; they might contract the novel coronavirus subsequently.

He suggested that volunteers such as Home Guards be deployed in public places to continuously and politely request residents to practise physical distancing and educate them on hand hygiene and the use of masks.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 2:16:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/ima-calls-for-total-lockdown-in-tiruchi/article32185838.ece

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