Govt. takes measures on war footing to fight the pandemic

Ward-level committees of local bodies to spearhead the fight

The State government on Saturday went on a war footing to fight the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pushed local bodies into the forefront of the battle. He said elected local body representatives should lose no time in setting up a task force at the ward level to combat the pestilence.

The ward-level committees (WLC) should immediately draw up a transport plan to shift COVID-19 patients to hospitals, first-line treatment centres of domiciliary care hubs at short notice. The elected ward member would head the WLC.

Municipalities and panchayats should have at least 10 and five ambulances on standby, respectively. They could commandeer private vehicles for use as COVID-19 ambulances.

The WLC should publicise the phone numbers of its members on social media and ensure that residents store them on their mobile phones. For the public, the committee would be the go-to person in an emergency during the pandemic.

The WLCs would comprise neighbourhood volunteer groups, doctors, medical students, health workers, police and revenue officials. Mayors, municipal chairpersons and panchayat presidents would oversee their functioning. The local bodies should pass information up and down the chain of command in real-time.

The Chief Minister promised a massive commitment of public resources to fight the scourge. The WLCs would step up their level of public engagement and involve themselves in every aspect of community life during the pandemic. The WLCs should mobilise quickly. "There is no room for complacency," Mr. Vijayan said.

The WLCs would monitor the pandemic situation at the grassroots-level. They would organise community kitchens, supervise distribution of free food kits, and ensure the door delivery of victuals and medicines. The committee would keep track of the health status of COVID-19 patients and enforce the mask and physical distancing mandate at the neighbourhood level.

The panels should ensure the welfare of migrant labourers and senior citizens living alone. They should ensure no one family or individual in their jurisdiction starved or lacked medical attention. The WLCs should care for alms seekers, street dwellers and homeless.

The committee should guarantee the availability of anti-viral drugs, supplemental oxygen, hospital beds, pulse oxymeters and ambulances at the ward level. They should ensure that burials and cremations adhere to the pandemic code. The committee should prevent crowding at vaccination centres.

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