Even a week after the ruling LDF government in Kerala once again made masks and social distancing protocols mandatory, health experts and citizens remain perplexed over the provocation for a decision that, on the face of it, appears entirely irrational.
The panic of the pandemic days are over, and while Covid-19 cases are still being reported, the numbers are few and cases of hospitalisations fewer. The disease is now endemic and, as far as Kerala is concerned, more than 90 percent of the population has received two doses of the vaccine — plus the booster shot.
The notification also flies in the face of Kerala describing itself as a land of hybrid immunity — a mix of natural and vaccine-generated immunities.
With experts airing their disagreement with the decision in public, and a significant section of the people openly defying the new orders, officials of the state’s Health Department have turned defensive. They were completely tightlipped when South First contacted them to know the circumstances under which the notification was issued.
Given that no explanation has been forthcoming for the notification — the idea apparently emanated from the Chief Minister’s Office — its a field day for those who enjoy speculation.
With anti-government agitations on the rise across the state, it was speculated that the notification was issued to discourage angry young people from joining political protests. Or was it because the government wanted to portray itself as tough and uncompromising when it comes to people’s health — a government that is ever-vigilant?
If the aim was to appear caring and pro-active, it clearly has not worked. As more on more health professionals call for the notification to be withdrawn, all that the government has achieved is land itself in yet another crisis of credibility.