As the country stares at the possibility of community transmission of COVID-19, the State government has evolved a multipronged strategy for local self-government institutions (LSGIs) to contain the proliferation of the disease.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who addressed leaders of local bodies across the State on Thursday through videoconferencing, for which he was joined by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, instructed the people’s representatives to take up proactive roles in ensuring the efforts being made by the government in combating the virus spread reached fruition at the grassroots level.
With around 26,000 people placed in home quarantine, the unfolding scenario demanded the implementation of extraordinary measures that could not longer be confined at the State level or within a team of experts, he said.
Advising local bodies to intensify community vigilance, Mr. Vijayan elaborated on their role in supporting all those who were under observation in their houses. Besides ensuring their basic needs such as food and medicines, and providing them counselling, civic bodies must be careful not to create an impression that they have been detained. At the same time, they must not be allowed to violate quarantine and roam freely.
Local bodies have also been asked to rein in gatherings by migrant workers and sensitise them to the precautionary measures that were being adopted. Community groups led by ward members and comprising government officials, ASHA, anganwadi and health workers must be constituted in each ward to identify and collect the details of bed-ridden patients and senior citizens who suffer from various ailments.
The Chief Minister also touched upon the impending crisis posed by the dwindling facilities to accommodate symptomatic travellers and homeless people. To circumvent the problem, the local self-government institutions have been instructed to identify hostels, defunct hospitals, uninhabited houses, colleges, schools and other institutions that could be spared for the purpose.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Chennithala stressed the need to learn from the mistakes of countries such as China and Italy that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
Local Self-Government Minister A.C. Moideen and Chief Secretary Tom Jose were present on the occasion.