Police bid to restrict movement of unvaccinated people in Kozhikode flayed

Government urged to ensure proper vaccination opportunities for all

Attempts by the police to stop unvaccinated people from entering public places have kindled widespread protest in different parts of Kozhikode district. There were reportedly moves on the part of the police to send unvaccinated people back home, with the claim that it was the new regulation declared by the State government to control the pandemic spread.

Various welfare organisations and trade unions that protested against the action said such steps could be taken only after ensuring proper vaccination opportunities for all. Slots were not available on the official CoWIN portal for booking, which should be addressed at first before introducing such measures, they added.

“I have been trying to get vaccinated since the launch of the CoWIN portal. Many of my co-workers are also experiencing the same hurdle,” said K. Shelly, an autorickshaw driver from Elathur. He said the move to restrict unvaccinated drivers from operating services had added to their worries amid the pandemic-induced financial crisis.

According to the leaders of various farmers’ organisations, the regulation would only benefit private hospitals that were cashing in on the sale of vaccines. Those who were awaiting free slots would be forced to rush to private hospitals for paid vaccines fearing the threat of social isolation, they added.

In Koduvally municipality, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) workers have been campaigning against a voice message reportedly circulated by the local police against the entry of unvaccinated people into public places. They said the police could not resort to such unilateral actions when people were running pillar to post for the vaccine.

“Similarly, insisting that people undergo COVID-19 tests every two weeks is also not a practical option. The government will have to ensure vaccines for all and then think of such extreme controlling measures in containment zones,” said P.V. Bava, a local voluntary organisation member from Koduvally. He said the new rules, if implemented, would mainly affect the lower income groups.

Responding to the complaints, Health Department officials said it was only one of the proposals made to reduce the massive spread of the pandemic in areas where the test positivity rate was very high. There was no move to forcibly implement the proposal, they added.

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