The government of Kerala must withdraw orders relaxing COVID-19 restrictions for Eid-ul-Azha (Bakrid) acting on the Indian Medical Association's (IMA) warnings against the relaxation of the instated measures to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan on Sunday said, as per ANI. The IMA had last week expressed concerns about the Kerala government’s decision to ease restrictions for the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha for three days, citing the rising trajectory of coronavirus infections as the state recorded an alarming 16,148 new confirmed cases as of Saturday, the highest in a month.
Ahead of the looming fears of the deadly third wave, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that he would allow the clothing shops, footwear, jewellery, gift items, home appliances, electronics as well as repair outlets to open to the public. This came as the state logged the highest single-day spike in infections with a positivity rate that jumped by 10 percent. While acknowledging that there were numerous clusters of infections that the southern state of India was recording, Health Minister Veena George indicated at there was an urgent need of reinstating the COVID-19 rules that to manage the fast rate of transmission.
Doctors body IMA, meanwhile issued a statement condemning the Kerala government’s latest move, saying that it will approach the Supreme Court if the state “is not enforcing COVID-appropriate behaviour and becomes a model state to curtail the rising menace of COVID-19, by withdrawing this decision”. It further labelled Pinarayi Vijayan-led government’s decision’s as "unwarranted and inappropriate at this time of medical emergency.” IMA stressed that the state needed to adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” towards crowd gathering and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour as it asserted that the state must not deviate from the statutory duty to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the citizens.
Backing IMA’s calls, Muraleedharan on Sunday took to his official Twitter handle to denounce Pinarayi Vijayan government for “carelessly using COVID-19 lockdowns for political interests.”
"The Pinarayi Vijayan government is shamelessly using COVID-19 and lockdown to serve its political interests. At a time when all other States have been tightening #COVID norms in the backdrop of festivals and congregations, CPIM Kerala Govt is hellbent on easing them," Muraleedharan tweeted.
He continued, "The recent call given by IMA against Vijayan Pinarayi Govt's unscientific management of COVID-19 on the pretext of Bakrid must be taken into consideration and acted upon by State Govt.” He adds, “Vijayan Pinarayi must act in the interest of the public and stop putting their lives at risk.”
With a caseload of over 3.14 million and 15,269 COVID-related fatalities, Kerala has been one of the worst hit states during the pandemic in India. The State was put on high alert last month after genome sequencing found that at least three villages now had the hypervirulent and deadly ‘Delta Plus’ strain of coronavirus also known as AY.1 circulating. There were 40 samples from across six districts in three states [Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh] that were found to be carrying Delta Plus. Delta plus variant consists of a mutation called K417N similar to Beta and Gamma variants first identified in South Africa and Brazil. Kerala government eased the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions for July 18, 19, and 20.
“Now that Bakrid has come, the government has announced a three-day exception for the lockdown. My suggestion is to follow the scientific approach and follow the guidelines of the Government of India, ICMR guidelines, and WHO. Do not utilize the pandemic as means of having political benefit out of it,” Muraleedharan told news agency ANI.
(With ANI inputs)