Don’t open malls and places of worship, Indian Medical Assn tells Kerala govt

Opening up such public spaces will lead to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the association warned.
Sabarimala temple
Sabarimala temple
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The Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association has urged the government not to open malls, centres of worship or other places to which people would flock, for it would lead to a surge in the COVID-19 cases. In a statement, the association said it’s prudent to remember that our fight is against a virus, while we hurry to return to normalcy. The statement was issued by IMA state President Dr Abraham Varghese and state Secretary Dr P Gopakumar.

“The experience world-wide is that the surge in the transmission of the disease is because of the flocking of the people without keeping physical distancing or properly wearing masks. We have seen people stepping out without keeping physical distance or wearing masks. From this we should understand that the people are not yet ready to follow the advisories,” the statement said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday had held a meeting with religious leaders in the state. He had said that the Centre has clearly given direction to open worship centers after June 8. “The meeting was held in this context. But the central government did not give any guidelines on how to open the worship centers. We are waiting for that," he had said.

“Majority of our brothers who have returned from other states in the past few weeks have been infected with the virus. It’s understood that some of them have even violated the quarantine. This has increased the possibility for community transmission. Also, the number of cases in which the source of infection is not traced is also rising. From this it should be assumed that community transmission is happening,” the IMA said.

“At this phase we are sharing the concern as a warning that if centers of worship or malls are opened the transmission of the disease would become beyond control. A situation in which there would be a spike in the number of cases shouldn’t be there. If such a situation arises our health machinery would be in utmost pressure and the control would be lost. It shouldn’t lead to a situation in which the hospitals would be crowded with patients and health workers and government machinery would get upset with that,” the statement said.

CM Pinarayi however said on Friday that the IMA's suggestion to not open places of worship can't be considered now. "We can't consider that. COVDI will be there with us for some time and we cannot avoid everything. It is important that we take precautions. That's what organisations like IMA also mean. We should carefully exercise caution,” he said. 

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