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Thiruvananthapuram, April 28, 2020
Many people in Kerala are using umbrellas to maintain the one-metre social distancing norm amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The idea was mooted by state Finance Minister Thomas Issac and it has now gone viral. The economist-turned minister Issac had proposed the measure to the Thaneermukam village council, which is part of his old assembly constituency. The Minister told IANS that he just shared his thought and it was immediately taken up by the members of the council.
"A resolution also has been passed by the council and will soon become a norm, as anyone who steps out of their house has to have an umbrella and this is meant to maintain the new social distancing norm," said Issac.
"Though our council does not come under Issac's assembly constituency, he is our guiding patron in all our activities, as this council, was part of his old assembly constituency," council president P. S. Jyothis told IANS.
"He often gives us lots of ideas and his idea to use an umbrella to ensure that the one-metre norm is adhered to came as a blessing in disguise. In our council itself the Kudumbasree (women empowerment programme) unit manufactures umbrellas. We have started to give out umbrellas at subsidised rates of Rs 20/50 and 200 to our people," said Jyothis.
"The resolution to this effect has been passed and people are being given umbrellas. We also have come out with a special umbrella that can be used by those who work under employment guarantee scheme," added Jyothis.
Issac expected people to realise that the umbrella is a handy tool to ensure one's own safety, automatically, and that when they step out of their homes -- in the summer and then the monsoon -- they will carry one.