Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday spoke to Republic TV's Editor Niranjan Narayanswamy on the steps stringent measures taken by his government to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Speaking about the effectiveness of the Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020 passed by the Kerala government and on whether other states across the country should have taken similar measures earlier, the Kerala CM said it is up to each state to decide "what would work best for them."
Pinarayi Vijayan said, "In Kerala, the government machinery is being used to provide relief to the people in this time of distress and to enable that we have promulgated the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020 so that the government can actively and proactively intervene as the situation demands. Staying true to India's federal framework, it is up to each state to decide what would work best for them."
Sending across his message to the people of the country going ahead, the Kerala CM said, "We appeal to Keralites around the world to strictly adhere to the instructions being issued by the respective governments and to follow the guidelines issued by the WHO from time to time." He added that everyone needs to be socially united and extend their solidarity even while keeping a physical distance. "Over the last few years, Kerala has become a role model for the world," said Vijayan.
WATCH: 'Based on the information till date, there is no threat of community transmission in Kerala, however, the state is prepared to meet any eventuality: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to Republic @CMOKerala @vijayanpinarayi https://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/IuRquC1zG3— Republic (@republic) April 8, 2020
The ordinance gives the state government several extraordinary powers to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, including restrictions on essential services and the introduction of a two-year imprisonment penalty.
The Expert Committee appointed by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to study the COVID-19 lockdown has recommended the Centre not to fully withdraw the lockdown on April 14, which was imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. "The Expert Committee assessed that the time is not yet ripe for full withdrawal of the lockdown on April 14. The withdrawal strategy should be gradual, phased and calibrated to ensure the case-load is always kept below the surge capacity of the healthcare system to deal with it," the report reads.
On Tuesday, sources said that the Centre is mulling to extend the nationwide lockdown post-April 14. The Centre is reportedly actively considering to extend the lockdown as many states have approached the Centre requesting the same. On Tuesday morning, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting with the empowered group of ministers to discuss the strategy of what will happen after the completion of the 21-day nationwide Coronavirus lockdown on April 14.
According to sources, the course of action has been divided into two parts, seemingly leaving it for states to decide whether or not to lift their respective lockdowns. There are two plans for states which will extend lockdown and the states which will lift the lockdown to ensure transport of essential goods, food supply to people, army intervention and social distancing guidelines.