‘The P.M. may have thought, let us bring in this kind of light first’: Pinarayi Vijayan

Published : April 04, 2020 11:54 IST

In Kochi, two young women enter a hospital ambulance after they complained of high fever, on April 3. Photo: PTI

The crying need of the States for generous funding from the Centre to fight COVID-19 and to provide livelihood support to millions of affected people was evident in the response of Kerala Chief Mnister Pinarayi Vijayan, when he was asked to comment on the criticism against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his call to the nation to light candles and flash torches on April 5.

“There is no need for anybody to raise an objection to a call for shining lights. Usually it is a good thing to usher in brightness. The problem here is that we should be able to bring the right kind of brightness into the minds of thousands and thousands of people, both small and big, including ordinary workers, small traders, and so on. What is needed, therefore, is support—sufficient financial support [from the Centre]. It may be coming in the following days. But, then, the Prime Minister may have thought, let us bring in this kind of light first. I hope the country will cooperate with him in his endeavour,” the Chief Minister said, during his late evening press briefing on Friday.

Pinarayi Vijayan said Kerala’s united struggle to resist the spread of COVID-19 with meagre resources should be seen in the context of the record of countries which are considered much more developed and prosperous. COVID-19 has affected 9,32,166 people the world over, killing 46,746 (as of April 3) people, according to the World Health Organisation. A majority of those affected are in the U.S., where 1,87,302 persons have been found to be COVID-19 positive and 3,846 deaths have been reported. In Italy, 1,10,574 had been affected and 13,107 people have died, he said.

The Chief Minister drew particular attention to the situation in New York, where the first case was reported on March 1. At present 2,219 have died there and there are 92,381 COVID-19 positive cases and the Sate Governor said the other day that 16,000 people were going to die in his city.

In contrast, he said, the first COVID case in Kerala was reported on January 30, the case of a student who returned from Wuhan. So far 295 persons have been found to be positive for COVID-19, of which 206 people are Keralites who returned from abroad; seven are citizens of other countries; and 78 people who got the disease through contact with those who were found positive.

“These statistics show that Kerala has been able to control the spread of the disease in a big way. This is a result of our united effort. Our strategy has been to prevent the spread of the disease, provide sufficient medical care to those who have been infected; and to curtail all possibilities of further transmission,” the Chief Minister said.

Over 250 people are under treatment at present in the State. On April 3, 14 patients were discharged from hospitals, among them, a couple aged 93 and 88 [whose son and family had returned from Italy] and a nurse who had contracted the disease while caring for them in a hospital. “We have been able to achieve all this only because of the quality of our health care system and of our health workers. We should have no reservations in congratulating our health workers again and again,” he said.

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