IMA slams move to ease curbs in Kerala for Eid

Kerala recorded a test positivity rate of 10.69% on Sunday, the highest among the country’s populous states.
An ambulance drives past a mosque that remains closed as people offered prayers at their homes during a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Kochi, Kerala. (AP Photo)
An ambulance drives past a mosque that remains closed as people offered prayers at their homes during a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Kochi, Kerala. (AP Photo)
Updated on Jul 19, 2021 03:56 AM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala government’s decision to ease restrictions for Eid al-zuha celebrations even as Covid-19 cases continued to surge in the state has triggered sharp reactions from medical bodies and experts, with the Indian Medical Association terming it “unwarranted and inappropriate” at a time of a medical emergency and threatening to move court.

“The IMA is pained to see amid the rise of cases and seropositivity, the Kerala government has issued an order to ease out lockdown followed in the state on the pretext of religious gatherings of Bakrid. It is unwarranted and inappropriate at this time of medical emergency,” said the statement released by the apex doctors’ organisation.

It further warned the government of approaching the court, if the relaxations were not withdrawn immediately.

Kerala on Sunday recorded 13,956 fresh cases said the data released by the state health ministry. The active caseload in the state has crossed 125,000.

On Saturday, as the state reported 16,148 new cases –the highest single-day increase in infections in over a month -- chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared that lockdown restrictions in the state would be relaxed for three days starting Sunday in view of Eid celebrations on July 21.

At least 40 people will be allowed in places of worship and there will be special relaxation from June 18-20 – shops and business establishments can be opened till 8pm.

Besides concessions for Bakrid, certain activities like film shooting and relaxations for places of worship were announced on Saturday by the CM, who added that restrictions were also needed to overcome the serious situation that Kerala was facing.

The CM said on Saturday that the curbs, including lockdowns, no matter how limited, were causing huge economic and social problems and therefore certain concessions were being allowed after evaluating the course of the Covid-19 infection daily.

The issue has also sparked a fierce debate online and drawn comparisons to the cancellation of the kanwar yatra by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

“When many northern states like J&K, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand have stopped, with a constructive sense of public safety, the traditional and popular pilgrimage Yatras, it is unfortunate that the learned state of Kerala had taken these retrograde decisions,” the IMA statement added.

The test positivity rate – the proportion of samples that return positive for Covid-19 – remains the highest among India’s populous states.

On Sunday, the positivity rate in the state was 10.69%. While the second wave of the outbreak has been receding in most regions in the country over the past two months, Kerala has been witnessing rising infections over the past four weeks, data shows.

The seven-day average of daily infections in the state, which had dropped to 11,357 for the week ended June 27, has now again climbed to 13,409 cases a day in the past week, data shows.

“It is a fact cases are high in Kerala. We expected this. The second phase started very late in the state and peaking is very slow due to our effective intervention,” said health minister Veena George, adding that there is no need to panic over the rising number of infections.

(With agency inputs

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021