BJP, Congress accuse Pinarayi of breaking COVID-19 protocol, KK Shailaja denies

Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena tested positive on April 6, and the opposition has asked why the CM came to vote without a PPE kit.
Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan
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The opposition Congress and BJP in Kerala have accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of violating the COVID-19 protocol, days after the CM who had the coronavirus was discharged from hospital and tested negative. The opposition parties have made several allegations and have questioned how the CM could have tested negative within seven days of testing positive for the virus. One allegation is that he broke the COVID-19 protocol on polling day; the Chief Minister’s daughter Veena tested positive for the virus on April 6, and while the CM and Veena live in the same house, Pinarayi came to vote on April 6 without a PPE kit, the opposition alleged. 

BJP leader and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan alleged that the CM had come walking from his home to the booth — a distance of 500 meters — to vote, while his daughter, who was already tested positive, was living in the same house. “He was the primary contact of his daughter. Also he had gone to the medical college in a vehicle where the gunman was also there, not in an isolated vehicle or in an ambulance. He hasn’t followed physical distancing even when he was discharged," Muraleedharan said. Veena came out to vote on April 6 wearing a PPE kit.

A source in the Chief Minister's office however denied this. "Veena's samples were given for testing and results had not come when CM went to vote. Veena however waited for her results to come and then cast her vote," the source said.

Pinarayi Vijayan tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 8 — two days after Kerala went to polls — following which he sought treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode. On Wednesday, April 14, he was discharged from the hospital, after testing negative for the virus.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Khan Koduvandi, a Youth Congress worker in Manjeri of Malappuram district in the state, has lodged a complaint with Governor Ariff Mohammed Khan alleging that Pinarayi has violated quarantine rules. “The test to examine if a patient turned negative should be done only after ten days of testing positive is as per the COVID-19 protocol. The CM has violated this protocol," the complaint, sent on Thursday, said. The complaint also said that the violation is grave considering the current COVID-19 situation and that action should be taken under the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020.

Health Minister KK Shailaja has clarified that those who have ample facilities at home are given home care only, and that the doctors decided to discharge the CM because he was feeling better and did not have any symptoms. Since the decision was taken to discharge him, the CM was given an RT-PCR test, which came out negative, the Health Minister said. She added that the Chief Minister will be in home quarantine as per protocol.

Muraleedharan added that a person who is tested negative for the virus should be in isolation for seven more days. "His wife travelled in the same vehicle (when he was discharged),” Muraleedharan said, “He has been giving lectures on how to contain COVID through his 6 pm press meets for the last one year.”

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