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Extend Coronavirus lockdown over three phases: Kerala expert panel tells Centre


Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 07: An expert task force set up by the Kerala government on evolving a strategy on easing the coronavirus lockdown has said the "time is not yet ripe" for its full withdrawal after April 14 and recommended a "phased approach" to the removal of the restrictions.

Extend Coronavirus lockdown over three phases: Kerala expert panel tells Centre

The 17-member committee in its report has suggested a withdrawal strategy that should be gradual, phased and calibrated to ensure that the case load is always kept below the (surge) capacity of the healthcare system to deal with it. It said restricting large scale movement of people across international and state boundaries was "critical" and should not be considered unless and until the situation was under control in every state.

However, the panel said it also felt that prolonged and stringent lockdown would lead to economic hardship, famine and law and order problems, which could undermine both the lockdown and the health management objectives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the 21-day lockdown to check the spread of the coronavirus. The report, submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by the committee on Monday, has been sent to the Central government. When asked about the strategy the government was likely to adopt, Vijayan told reporters that only after knowing the Centre's decision on the lockdown, which ends on April 14, will the state be able to decide on its future course of action.

The report by the task force headed by former chief secretary K M Abraham was for the centre's perusal and not for the state government, he said.

"The task force report was for the centre's perusal and not for the state government. The Prime Minister had sought the report from the task force and the state government had sent it to the Centre after we received it yesterday," he told reporters here.

Replying to a question, he said it was a nation-wide 21- day lockdown and the state government was following the Centre's directions. "The centre had declared a 21-day-long lockdown till April 14. Let the Centre take a decision whether to continue or not... We will take a suitable decision accordingly," Vijayan added.

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