Don’t persist with lockdown, containment zones: CII tells Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 11, 2020

Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala   -  THE HINDU

The Confederation of Industry (CII), Kerala, has urged the State government not to persist with control measures such as lockdown and containment zones since the healthcare infrastructure is adequately equipped to take care of the Covid-19 situation at large.

A CII delegation led by Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala and Chairman and Managing Director, MD Muthoot Fincorp convered the suggestions to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. It included Kris Gopalakrishnan, Past President, CII and former Vice-Chairman, Infosys; VK Mathews, Executive Chairman, IBS Software; Paul Thomas, MD&CEO, Esaf Small Finance Bank; MI Sahadulla, MD, KIMS Global; Tony Thomas, Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group; and Sreenath Vishnu, Vice Chairman, CII Kerala, and Managing Director, Brahmins Foods.

Business should carry on

The delegation requested that all business activity should be allowed in the State with proper safety protocols. The CII has prepared a detailed safety protocol and submitted it to the government.

Testing and tracing need to be increased but it should be de-linked from travel. Movement of men and materials should not be hindered under any circumstances. People who travel for work from other States should not be restricted since they are bound to be checked for symptoms at the respective work places. With regard to people travelling long distance or by flights, only those who show symptoms should be quarantined.

Unless a person shows symptoms or tests Covid-positive, the quarantine should not be made mandatory. The State government should request the Centre to amend the guidelines accordingly.

Focus on safety protocols

The focus and onus of following safety protocols should shift from the government to public for effective redressal of the pandemic. This can be done by allowing routine economic activity by maintaining safety protocols.

The State government should focus on reviving the economy and CII will be pleased to work with the government to create a roadmap and strategy towards reviving focussed Industry sectors, the CII delegation informed the Chief Minister.

Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted industrial and economic activities in the State. Compulsory closure of businesses on account of lockdown and containment zone has led to loss of employment and business, since 95 per cent of the businesses in Kerala falls under the MSME category.

Flattening the curve

CII members stated that it is proven that measures such as lockdown and containment zones are useful in only slowing down the rate of transmission by ‘flattening the curve’ whereby the number of people who get infected at one time will be reduced.

But it also extends the pandemic period in the society by postponing the disease in sections of the susceptible population to the future. It is also proven that once lockdown is over, the pandemic spread will continue infecting the susceptible population.

Measures such as lockdown and containment zones are used by administrations as a step to create additional time to ensure the readiness and adequacy of health systems to manage the pandemic.

Reducing disease spread

The Chief Minister told the delegation that the government has given importance to reducing the spread of virus as well as keeping the economic activities ongoing. Even though Kerala was the first state to report the first positive case in the country, the impact of the pandemic has reduced due to the proactive response of the government. He reiterated that testing will be increased.

He also clarified that factories and businesses within the containment zone can function as long as they can, with employees residing in the containment zone. The CII promised to extend support to government initiatives towards Covid management and flood relief.

Published on August 11, 2020

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