Amidst the strong criticism by Kerala Government Medical Officers Association, Kerala government today issued guidelines to issue alcohol upon doctor’s reports. The order is to make alcohol available to people who show withdrawal symptoms during the COVID-19 lockdown. Henceforth people could obtain a special pass from the excise office for buying booze if they manage to produce a doctor’s certificate along with personal identification documents, says the order.
The state government, which overruled objections raised by a doctors’ association, has ruled out opening the state monopoly alcohol sales outlets. The excise department, however, will issue only one pass per each applicant. Persons showing alcohol withdrawal symptoms can go to government-run hospitals – primary health centres including ESI, block-level PHCs, taluk hospitals, district hospitals, general hospitals, speciality hospitals and medical colleges – to get them examined.
If the examining doctor certifies that the patient shows withdrawal symptoms, he could apply to the excise department for a bottle of booze. The patient or a person deputed by the patient can produce the medical certificate and other documents to the nearby excise range office or circle office. Identification documents such as Aadhaar, voter’s identification card or driving licence has to be produced along with the medical certificate.
The decision of the government has invited stringent criticism from the opposition parties. The central government has also advised avoiding alcohol, drugs as a means to cope with boredom amid lockdown.