UDF against unscientific lockdown

Satheesan slams govt. for undercounting Omicron cases, lack of planning

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) on Tuesday said it was against imposing an “unscientific lockdown”.

Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheesan said curtailing commerce and daily life totally would further imperil the precarious economy and destroy livelihoods and businesses.

In 2020 and 2021, the government had caused overcrowding in banks and shops by unscientifically restricting business hours. It should not reimpose such ham-handed decisions on the public again.

Mr. Satheesan accused the government of undercounting Omicron cases to hide the utter ineptitude of its pandemic mitigation strategy. He alleged the daily cases in the State were at least five times the official figure.

The Health department was at a loss to cobble together a coherent public health strategy. The department had come to a standstill. It had disbanded COVID-19 brigades prematurely. The Health department director, and district medical officers seemed clueless and had no function to speak off, he said.

Health Minister Veena George’s role is, pathetically, limited to counselling the public daily to follow pandemic regulations. Ms. George has no credible mitigation strategy to offer, he alleged.

Mr. Satheesan said home test-kits sold off the counter of medical stores had also contributed to the underreporting of COVID-19 cases.

Many infected people remained at large, hiding their affliction. There is a dire shortage of anti-viral medications in State-run hospitals. Infected persons are flocking to expensive private hospitals in droves. The administration is yet to close schools and colleges despite clusters erupting in educational institutions.

Mr. Satheesan demanded that the government reinstate the social welfare measures implemented during the previous COVID-19 waves. It should declare a moratorium on realising loans from borrowers.

He also slammed the government for slapping impossible fines on ordinary people for minor infractions of the pandemic code. “The government should treat COVID-19 as a public health issue and not law and order problem,” he said.

The government’s laxity in handling the Omicron surge had prompted the public to view the current wave lightly. Entire households had turned COVID-19 clusters, he said.

Mr. Satheesan portrayed the CPI(M) as "merchants of death" for forging ahead with party conferences and organising public spectacles despite the worrying spread of the Omicron variant.

In contrast, the Congress and UDF allies had cancelled party programmes in the paramount public interest, he said.

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