Thiruvananthapuram, July 31 : With close to a lakh new Covid cases in the past five days and no sight of any slowing down in the test positivity rate (TPR), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lost his cool at a review meeting of Covid-19 experts and asked them to rework strategies, as the people partly locked up in homes for the past 83 days have started grumbling.
Kerala has 50 per cent of the daily new Covid cases in the country, while the state's TPR hovers around 12 per cent, the national average is below 4 per cent.
One reason why Vijayan lost his cool at the meeting with the experts on Friday is the Congress led Opposition time and again, in the ongoing assembly session taunts Vijayan asking him what's happening on the Covid front, despite tall claims being made of tackling Covid.
According to those in the know of things, Vijayan gave a dressing down in the expert meeting telling them that time is running out and the present strategy of locking down the state based on the TPR in the various local bodies, appears to have not yielded any positive result in containing the raging Covid in the state and has asked for new solutions.
Meanwhile, a high level team of the Centre which arrived in the state has split into two teams and are touring the state and will meet up with the Kerala health officials on Monday.
One reason why the man on the street who is facing all the brunt of the lockdown is the loss of income and not to mention the plight of the traders as their woes are increasing. At times the police also lose their cool.
The social media had a whale of time against the police and the authorities over the way they behaved with an 18-year-ld girl who intervened when the police was taking on an elderly person for violating the protocol. Then came the incident when a poor farmer was asked to pay Rs 2,000 as fine when he was cutting grass for his cow and if that was not enough, came another news, how the police threw away a tray of fish of a lady, all in the name of violation of Covid protocols.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said it's natural for Vijayan to lose his cool as he is the focal point of the people, as everyday in the last year, he was appearing before the people through the television explaining how the state is tackling Covid, when even the western world was caught unawares.
"Today that situation has changed and Kerala is caught on the wrong foot and hence people will ask questions on what's happening. The present lockdown appears to have crippled the economy and it's quite natural for the traders who have announced that they will open their shops from next month onwards. One can't blame people for the present unrest and with Onam round the corner, especially the traders are looking forward for doing business," said the critic.
All eyes are now on the upcoming meeting that the Central team has with the health experts here and also the decision of the expert committee on how best a new strategy can be worked out.
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text