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Covid cannot be prevented by stubbornness

Covid cannot be prevented by stubbornness

Recently, not only community health activists and the Opposition. but also pro-Left experts have been criticizing the Kerala government for its aimless Covid prevention measures. However, neither the Chief Minister nor the government is willing to take the criticism seriously. The unscientific lockdown methods imposed have been at the receiving end of most criticism. It has often been noted that the result of allowing shops to open for a few hours on a few days in a week is contrary to what was intended. It is common sense that opening shops for a while will only increase crowds, congestion and the spread of disease (and by this logic the government has allowed bars to stay open longer). But the only one this failed to dawn on were the Chief Minister and the experts in his team. Even after weeks of lockdown, there has been no let up in the spread of the disease. Traders and common people have been thrown into financial hardship and famine. Suicides have become a daily occurrence. When the traders declared a strike, the Chief Minister warned them. Kerala became a 'fine state' as police and officials took to the streets to implement these absurd restrictions imposing fines. Small traders, commoners, daily wage labourers, and even the farmer who went to graze his cow, were caught in the 'fine raj'. Disgruntled locals started quarrelling with the police in different places and sharing it live on social media. The conflict between the police and the people has led to lawlessness and confusion in the state. Eventually, the government agreed that lockdown norms could be changed. The new restrictions regime wasannounced on Wednesday.

The revised lockdown norms, however, are more fun than the old ones. Now shops can be open six days a week starting from seven in the morning to nine at night. It has also decided to change the old system of dividing local bodies into categories according to TPR rates and determining lockdown intensity. We would no longer witness the strange sight of one side of the market being shut while it is bustling across the road. Restrictions will now be based on the weekly infection rate. But the conditions set by the government for those who visit these open shops are strange and ridiculous. Only those who have taken at least one dose of vaccine a week ago, or have an RT-PCR negative certificate taken within previous 72 hours, or have tested positive in the last one month, can come to the shops under the new order. That is, if one wants to go to the nearest shop and buy a packet of milk, he must have the same documents required to go to Karnataka. Or one may have to pay a fine to the police along with the price of the milk. Anyone can understand that the strict conditions of the new order are pointless. Yet why is the government issuing such an order and the Health Minister reiterating that it will be strictly enforced? As we seek the answer, we enter the zone of doubts.

Everyone knows that the new terms are generally impractical. A person going to buy fish will not carry certificates in hand. The government can fine the individual. We have to doubt whether the government sees fines as an important source of revenue. Or else the government's stubbornness and falst prestige must be the reason for such strange conditions. Apparently the government wants the people to pay a larger price than the blow suffered by the government by having to give in to the heavy pressure exerted by the people, the media and the opposition. Doesn't the Chief Minister understand that the people are upset and angry with the government's Covid policy? Or does he still think that giving the public kits will solve all problems? The party, and the local leadership that should feel the pulse of the people, have the responsibility to relay the reality of the public to the Chief Minister and his team. But sympathisers of the party are instead struggling to reason these strange restrictions. It appears that just becaue it has got a second term and is getting away by distributing food kits, the government feels licensed to do anything.

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TAGS:covid-19 Kerala relaxes restrictions conditions impractical stubborn stance of govt 
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