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Time not ripe for full withdrawal of lockdown on April 14: Kerala Expert Committee

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], April 8 (ANI): The Expert Committee appointed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to study the COVID-19 lockdown has recommended the Centre not to fully withdraw the lockdown on April 14, which was imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The Expert Committee assessed that the time is not yet ripe for full withdrawal of the lockdown on April 14. The withdrawal strategy should be gradual, phased and calibrated to ensure the case-load is always kept below the surge capacity of the healthcare system to deal with it,” the report reads.
“The Committee, however, is cognizant that prolonged and stringent lockdown will lead to economic hardship, famine and law and order issues, which may, in turn, undermine both the lockdown and the health management objectives,” the report further reads.
The Expert Committee has also recommended the phasing of restrictions for areas outside COVID-19 infection hotspots. It also says that lockdown can be relaxed district wise in three phases. It is sustainable only if there are a steady recovery and decline in the number of cases.
“Therefore, a phased approach to the withdrawal of the lockdown has been suggested. The unit for operationalising such a phased approach is suggested to be a district which has defined boundaries as well as the executive magistrate, who has the authority to effectively enforce the measures of the phased lockdown,” the report adds.
It also says the government should advice the people that in the event of a resurgence, they should be ready and willing to undergo the rigours of a complete lockdown once again.
Taking about the procurement of essential medical equipment, the report says: “While lockdown may be relaxed, the effort to ramp up production and procurement of test kits, ventilators, PPE kits for healthcare personnel and masks should not be relaxed. There should be a national effort for this purpose and all available capacity.”
About the supply of essential goods, the report suggests “maintaining supply chains of essential goods and services is integral to the achieving both health and economic objectives and central government should ensure to establish effective coordination between states as well as logistics operators.”
“COVID-19 crisis is forcefully taking India into the online world at a very rapid pace. Innovations and practices which would have needed years to achieve are being introduced in a matter of weeks in various fields like education, telemedicine, etc. We must ensure that such modern technological leaps are not lost when the lockdown is withdrawn,” the report further adds. (ANI)