Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 5 (IANS) The Kerala government has taken a lot of flak over its new Covid guidelines but the most stinging remark came from a bishop, who sought to know whether those took the decisions had taken a dose of "common sense vaccine".
State Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday announced the new guidelines, which say that those who enter shops, banks and other establishments, should have got at least one dose of vaccine administered or produce an RT-PCR certificate not older than 72 hours.
The issue surfaced in the Kerala Assembly too on Thursday and Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan led a walkout of the House in protest after George categorically said there would be no change in the norms.
Soon after George's remarks, the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church's Niranam Diocese Metropolitan, Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, in a Facebook post, asked if no one in the Covid Expert Committee taken the dose of "common sense" vaccine.
"The new decisions appear to be irrational as the new guidelines appears that those who go to buy their stock of liquor need not observe the rules what a person needs to observe when he goes to buy rice. It's really 'commendable' and we must accept the 'expertise' of the expert committee," he wrote.
Before walking out of the Assembly, Satheesan said: "It's strange that to buy 2 kg of rice, one has to be either vaccinated or carry RT-PCR certificate. Fail to understand what sort of rationale and logic is being used."
Incidentally, the relaxed new lockdown norms came hours after Kerala recorded 50 per cent of the daily new Covid cases in the country, and on Wednesday, 22,414 new Covid cases were reported.
Meanwhile, social media was flush with activity, trolling the Kerala government's new guidelines. Many termed it as illogical as only around 50 per cent of the state population has received their first dose, thus forcing the remaining 50 per cent to remain indoors.
And, adding insult to the injury came a fresh Central government guideline which has asked states like Kerala having a high Covid spread to ensure that strict adherence to Covid protocols and festivals should not see any sort of crowding.
With Onam, Kerala's traditional harvest festival, coming soon, the new set of guidelines are going to create a lot of confusion.
According to the new guidelines, all shops, tourism centres and other establishments should display the status of vaccination of employees and the number of customers permitted at a time. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of such establishments to avoid crowding inside and outside the shop. Enforcement agencies will conduct checks and take action to ensure the above.
All establishments in the public sector, including government offices, PSUs, companies, autonomous organisations, and commissions will function from Monday to Friday.
But was irked people was the stipulation that only those who have taken at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine two weeks prior, or who are in possession of RT-PCR negative certificate taken 72 hours before, or who is in possession of Covid-19 positive results more than a month old will be allowed inside shops, markets, banks, public and private offices, financial institutions, factories, industrial establishments, open tourist spaces and other establishments.
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