The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has criticised the Kerala government decision to remove restrictions ahead of the Eid celebrations as the COVID threat is showing no signs of abatement in the state.
The association asked the government to change the decision and restore the restrictions immediately. The voluntary organisation of the medical community described the Kerala move as most unfortunate at a time when the north Indian states are cancelling major pilgrimage programmes in view of the COVID threat.
‘IMA is pained to see amidst the rising of cases and Sero positivity, the Kerala government has issued an order to ease lockdown conditions on the pretext of religious gatherings of Bakri Id. It is unwarranted and inappropriate at this time of medical emergency. When many Northern states like J&K, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal have stopped, with a constructive sense of public safety the traditional and popular pilgrimage Yatras, it is an unfortunate that the learned state of Kerala has taken these retrograde decisions", the organisation said in a statement.
Kerala accounts for nearly half of the total national daily caseloads. The number touched almost 14,000 on Sunday, even as the state lifted restrictions in most of the areas in view of the Muslim festival. Except in places where triple lockdown is in force, all shops have been allowed to open till next Wednesday.
The government took the critical decision after the trading community announced an agitation to seek reopening of the outlets. The traders had threatened to violate the restrictions and open the shops, come what may.
The trading community argued that Eid sales provided them an opportunity to recoup a part of their losses as the festival is marked by heavy shopping by families and if they missed the occasion, they had no hopes of survival.
Public health expert Dr Mohammed Asheel said the first day of easing the restrictions itself brought a large number of people to the marketplace and this was bound to result in further spread of infection.
The IMA, particularly the Kerala unit, has been critical of what they describe as the ‘unscientific’ restrictions enforced by the state government. The policy of allowing shops to open only on limited days of the week actually led to crowding of shops, they argued.
According to them, the shops should have been allowed to remain open for longer periods, so that people don’t have to crowd the outlets.