No Statewide lockdown for now

Headload workers in Kozhikode city wait for their turn to give samples for COVID-19 test on Friday.   | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday ruled out a Statewide lockdown for “at least a week from now”. However, it did not entail that the government had tossed out the option for good, he added.

Mr. Vijayan said disease experts were divided on whether a Statewide lockdown would help retard the momentum of the COVID-19 outbreak at the current stage of the contagion. “Some experts say ‘yes’. Others say ‘no’. The government is weighing all opinions,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan, who chaired an all-party meeting on the COVID-19 crisis via videoconferencing, said political leaders, cutting across party lines, had expressed their misgivings about re-imposing a Statewide lockdown.

The leaders had proposed cutting off COVID-19 hotspots from the rest of the State instead of shutting down life, production, and retail-trade wholly. The meeting evaluated that triple lockdowns had helped prevent the virus from radiating out of newly formed disease clusters to relatively disease-free neighbourhoods.

Party leaders had also asked the government to further tighten controls in critical containment areas. They expressed their willingness to support pandemic measures at the panchayat and municipality ward level.

The government has factored in the opinion of party leaders and decided to keep the proposal to lock down the State entirely in abeyance for now.

Large clusters

Mr. Vijayan said that the lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram could prolong. Large clusters had developed in coastal localities and the epidemic situation in the State capital was potentially dire. “However, the government would allow some loosening of restrictions in the coming days to mitigate the difficulty of residents living outside critical containment zones,” he said. Moreover, the improving rate of recovery and lessening number of infections had buoyed the administration.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who attended the meeting, argued against imposing a total shutdown. Instead, he said the government should cut off epidemic hotspots from the rest of the State, economically aid the affected population, and increase testing. He also asked the government to allow life and commerce to continue unimpeded outside the epicentre of critical containment zones. A total lockdown would be ham-fisted move, he said.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 10:34:04 PM |

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