Time not ripe to ease lockdown: Kerala Expert Committee

South India
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The Expert Committee appointed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has made a series of recommendations and wants the Kerala government to withdraw the lockdown only in a phased manner. 

 

In its report, the 17 member committee has suggested a withdrawal strategy that 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

However, the Committee is cognizant that prolonged and stringent lockdown will lead to economic hardship, famine and law and order issues, which may, in turn, undermine both the lockdown and the health management objectives.

The Expert Committee has also recommended the phasing of restrictions for areas outside COVID-19 infection hotspots. It also says that lockdown can be relaxed district wise in three phases. It is sustainable only if there are a steady recovery and decline in the number of cases.

"Therefore, a phased approach to the withdrawal of the lockdown has been suggested. The unit for operationalising such a phased approach is suggested to be a district which has defined boundaries as well as the executive magistrate, who has the authority to effectively enforce the measures of the phased lockdown," the report reads.

It also says the government should advice the people that in the event of a resurgence, they should be ready and willing to undergo the rigours of a complete lockdown once again.

Taking about the procurement of essential medical equipment, the report said:

 "While lockdown may be relaxed, the effort to ramp up production and procurement of test kits, ventilators, PPE kits for healthcare personnel and masks should not be relaxed. There should be a national effort for this purpose and all available capacity."

About the supply of essential goods, the report suggests "maintaining supply chains of essential goods and services is integral to the achieving both health and economic objectives and central government should ensure to establish effective coordination between states as well as logistics operators."

"COVID-19 crisis is forcefully taking India into the online world at a very rapid pace. Innovations and practices which would have needed years to achieve are being introduced in a matter of weeks in various fields like education, telemedicine, etc. We must ensure that such modern technological leaps are not lost when the lockdown is withdrawn," the report further adds.

The Central government has taken many stringent measures to prevent the further spread of the disease. 

In his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had announced a 21-day lockdown in the country to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, which has infected over 4000 people in the country.

Only the essential services like grocery shops, medical outlets remain functional during the lockdown.

In a televised address to the nation on March 24, Prime Minister Modi had said that it is vital to break the chain of the disease and experts have said that at least 21 days are needed for it. Social distancing is the only option to deal with the disease.

The Prime Minister had said the lockdown has drawn a "Lakshman Rekha" in every home and people should stay indoors for their own protection and for that of their families.

Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December last year, has so far spread to more than 200 countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic. 

 

 

With inputs from ANI

Image credit: Deccan Herald

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