Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 29 (PTI): With COVID-19 cases not witnessing the expected decline, the Kerala government on Tuesday decided to extend lockdown restrictions for one more week.
The state reported 13,550 new cases on Tuesday, taking the cumulative cases to 29,10,507 while the toll mounted to 13,093 with the addition of 104 recent deaths.
Briefing the media after the Covid review meeting, Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said it hasbeen decided to make small changes in the classification of areas according to the spread of the disease.
The LSG bodies have been reclassified on the basis of the average (Test Positivity Rate (TPR) for the last seven days.
Accordingly, there are 165 local bodies in the A category (TPR less than 6 percent), 473 in the B category (6 -12per cent TPR), 316 in the C category (12-18 per cent TPR) and 80 in the D category (TPR more than 18 per cent).
The new restrictions would come into effect from Thursday, Vijayan said.
'The average TPR is still above 10 per cent, but down from a high of 29.75 cent.The expected progress in TPR decline is not visible.The lockdown cannot continue all the time.That's why the relaxations were allowed but there is concern that TPR is not falling below 10 per cent,' he said.
Statistics from the past week indicate that there was no considerable decline in the number of patients, the Chief Minister said.
'The TPR is expected to decrease gradually.There are many non-infected people in Kerala as the speed of transmission was well controlled in the first wave.' According to the Sero Survey conducted by ICMR, only about 11 per cent of the people in the state were infected during the first wave as against the national average of 21 per cent.
The delta variant is spreading as part of the second wave, according to the Chief Minister.
Although the disease spread faster than the first wave, the state was able to contain the wave in a manner thatensured that health system did not crumble. In this scenario, it was decided that there was no need to relax the existing restrictions, the CM said.
The Chief Minister also announced a change in the funeral protocol of Covid victims allowing close relatives to pay their respects and perform limited religious rites, all within an hour.
Banks have been directed to halt the revenue recovery proceedings of those Covid victims who have defaulted on bank loans,he said.
As on June 29, 1,38,62,459 doses of vaccine have been distributed in the state. Among healthcare workers, the first dose was given to 5,36,218 people and the second to 4,26,853.
Of the other frontline workers, 5,51,272 were given the first dose and 4,29,737 the second dose.
The first dose was given to 78,12,226 people over the age of 45 and the second to 22,76,856.
Among the 18-44 years category, the first dose was given to 18,05,308 persons and the second to 23,989.
A total of 1,07,05,024 persons in the state have so far received the first dose, while 31,57,435 have received both doses.
Forty per cent of the State's population has got the first jab while 12 per cent have got both shots.
'Once the vaccine is available, it can be delivered quickly and systematically.If we get the required amount of vaccine from the central government, we will be able to achieve herd immunity within three to four months,' Vijayan said.PTI UD BN BALA BALA