RT-PCR test for visiting shops is justified, says Kerala health minister

Published on Aug 06, 2021 04:37 PM IST

As Congress says that the move will force elderly people to run errands as they are vaccinated, health minister Veena George said the restriction is not forever.

The requirement for negative RT-PCR test to visit shops will not be there forever, says Kerala health minister justifying the move.(AP)
The requirement for negative RT-PCR test to visit shops will not be there forever, says Kerala health minister justifying the move.(AP)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Kerala has become the first state in India to have mandated negative RT-PCR test for visiting all public places, including shops, for unvaccinated people, which has invited protests. Health minister Veena George on Friday defended the decision and said the government is responsible to provide adequate protection to the people and these decisions have been taken after detailed consultation with the experts. Speaking at the zero hour in the Assembly, the health minister said that these curbs were not meant forever and lifting all restrictions might cost the state dear.

On Wednesday, the state government announced some relaxations of Covid-19 curbs doing away with Saturday lockdown. In its latest order, the government has allowed shops, markets, banks, offices, factories, tourist places to be open on all days from Monday to Saturday. But the rider that only vaccinated people or people with recent negative RT-PCR tests can enter these places has effectively changed nothing, many have alleged.

There was confusion whether this provision is desirable or mandatory, but the state government has clarified that it is a mandatory provision.

Congress leader K Babu said if the new order is implemented, then elderly people will have to go out as they are the ones fully vaccinated. Only 28 per cent of the youth have been vaccinated in the state, the Congress leader said.

The health minister said the resistance to this new guideline is only to tarnish the image of the government as the situation needs close monitoring. Citing a recent Supreme Court order, Veena George said any relaxation to lockdown restrictions should be given after ensuring protection to people.

The Covid-19 situation in Kerala has suddenly turned worrisome as the state is recording over 20,000 fresh infections for the past few days. With the lowest seropositivity rate in the country, Kerala has a considerable population yet to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The sudden rise in the number of infections in Kerala has sent an alarm to bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as wellThe health minister has said high population density, coupled with lifestyle diseases and the increasing number of elderly people are major causes of worry with regard to the Covid spread in the state.

(With PTI inputs)

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