Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

At least five people with an alleged history of alcohol addiction have committed suicide in Kerala in just five days. The reports point to the health woes of alcohol addicts building up into a major concern on the sidelines of the battle against COVID-19 across the state.

As per the report, two alcohol addicts also attempted suicide in Malappuram on Saturday. In Kerala, there is a sudden increase in the number of admissions at de-addiction centres and mental health units at government hospitals.

Last week, the Kerala government stopped the sale of liquor through bars and state-run retail outlets following the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.alcohol

With suicide cases being reported from various parts of the state after liquor sales were stopped here following the 21-day nationwide lockdown was enforced, CM Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the Excise Department to provide liquor to those with a prescription from doctors.

Moreover, Kerala government has also asked Excise Department to provide free treatment and admit people with withdrawal symptoms to de-addiction centers.

Additionally, CM had said that the government is also considering option of online sale of liquor as the sudden unavailability of alcohol may lead to social problems.

However, the medical experts do not quite approve this decision. Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that scientific treatment should be given to those who have alcohol withdrawal symptoms. "Writing a liquor prescription can result in the cancellation of the right to treatment. We have brought it to the notice of Kerala Chief Minister," Kerala Chapter of Indian Medical Association.

"It can be treated at home or in hospitals with medicines. It is not scientifically acceptable to offer alcohol to them. Doctors have no legal obligation to provide a prescription for alcohol," IMA added.

The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,071 in India on Monday, while the death toll rose to 29, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 942, while 99 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated, the ministry stated.

In its updated data at 10.30 am, it said two fresh deaths were reported from Maharashtra.

Thus, Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of deaths (8) so far, followed by Gujarat (5), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (2), Delhi (2) and Jammu and Kashmir (2).

Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have reported a death each.

The total number of cases (1,071) includes 49 foreigners.

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