Both Pinarayi Vijayan and Ramesh Chennithala stressed the need to make sure that those in quarantine are not ostracised.

At joint press meet Keralas ruling party opposition vow to fight COVID-19 together
news Coronavirus Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 12:59

In a confidence building measure, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed representatives of the local bodies in a joint press meet with Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Both leaders, along with Minister for Local Self Government Department AC Moideen, addressed people’s representatives across the state - through the Education Department’s channels called Victres on Thursday morning. Local bodies play a crucial role in spreading awareness and monitoring those in quarantine, among a myriad other things.

Kerala now has close to 26,000 people under observation in homes. Pinarayi Vijayan said that the priority was to ensure that the steps taken to contain the spread of the disease does not hit normal life.

“The responsibility to maintain normalcy mainly lies with the local self bodies. There should be no hindrance in providing or food medicines for those who are in home quarantine. Their protection is our concern, especially the responsibility of local bodies. They are not imprisoned, that is why we have changed the word ‘quarantine’ to ‘care centres’. There have been instances of people going out or running away, we need to be responsible and take care of their needs,” he said. 

The state in the past two days has not reported any new cases, but is awaiting results of at least 350 samples.

“There is a high possibility that the virus might spread largely, that is what the experience of other countries show. Local body representatives have a major role in combating this. At a first glance, the regulations that we have imposed might seem a little too much,” Pinarayi said. 

Ramesh Chennithala meanwhile said that it is not right to socially ostracise people who are in quarantine. “Some people are afraid of those in quarantine and those who are in touch with patients. Health workers should not be ostracised, Our hospitals should be fully infection free. If community transmission begins, it will be a dangerous situation. Now we can at least track the people who have come into contact with the suspected cases, but if community transmission starts, this will not be possible,” he said. 

The government on Wednesday had announced COVID care centres in all districts. 

“Special attention needs to be given to tribal hamlets. ASHA workers, health officials, and members of NGO’s can act in accordance with the directions of the health department. Political parties also need to stick to the directions of the government, especially by avoiding public gatherings, so that community spread can be avoided. There is no politics in it. All the differences should be set apart and we should fight together,” Chennithala said. 


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