Kerala government has decided to impose stringent curbs for six days, starting May 4, Tuesday, to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state. It was announced last Thursday that stricter measures shall be enforced from May 4 to 9 with the state's daily surge of COVID-19 cases crossing 38,000 and caseload touching the 15-lakh mark. On May 3, the active cases of COVID-19 stand at 3,45,887 in the state.
With fresh cases increasing exponentially, there is need to strengthen further restrictions in addition to the present weekend lockdown like curbs on Saturdays and Sundays, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier told reporters.
For a week from May 4, stringent restrictions will be put in place. People are expected to follow 'self-lockdown’. Patients and their attendants/persons having emergency needs and eligible people intending to take vaccination shall be allowed movement with valid ID proof, said a government order dated April 30.
Only neighbourhood shops dealing with medicines, newspapers, food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat, fish and toddy shall be allowed to function. Restaurant and eateries shall be allowed only to cater to parcel and home delivery and shall be closed by 9pm. Banks can be open from 10 am to 1 pm and work internally for another hour more.
Among the activities being cancelled are indoor and outdoor shooting of television serials and documentaries. In this period, vegetable and fish market vendors should maintain two-metre distance, wear double masks and gloves.
Police personnel have assured that there will be no problems with regard to oxygen transportation and vehicles transporting the lifesaving gas cylinders, medicines and medical equipment should be marked clearly to help police identify them and ensure safe passage through traffic.
Dedicated oxygen war rooms at the state and district levels will be set up, and collectors will monitor the availability of oxygen in their respective districts.
Despite several doctors’ associations recommending lockdown, the Chief Minister had said that it would be the last resort. The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) had urged the state government to impose a two-week lockdown in view of the rise in cases.
But the government is confident the situation can be brought under control by people if they are willing to stay away from public places as far as possible. In the coming week, only shops selling essential commodities will be allowed to function and they have also been encouraged to promote home delivery of goods to avoid contact with people.
(With PTI input)