No plans for lockdown now, but more restrictions to be put in place: CM

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 28 (PTI) As Kerala recorded the highest ever single day surge on Wednesday with over 35,000 COVID-19 cases, KeralaChief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there were no plans for a state-wide lockdown as of now, but more restrictions would be put in place in a stringent manner.

'We are not planning for a lockdown now. If it is needed, we will think about it. But that will be a last resort.We will fight the pandemic by implementing stringent restrictions,' Vijayan said after the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet.

The state logged 35,013 cases on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the Kerala government decided to procure vaccine doses for the next three months for the third phase of the vaccination drivefrom May 1, for those above18 years of age.

Vijayan, who chaired a cabinet meeting in this regard, said 70 lakh Covishield doses at Rs 400 per dose will be purchased from Serum Institute of India for Rs 294 crore and 30 lakh Covaxin doses from Bharat Biotech for Rs 189 crore.

He said it was not right for the Centre to fix a price for the vaccines now after giving it free of cost for various age groups.

'Though we raised all these matters before the Centre, they are yet to take a favourabledecision.

In this scenario, the Kerala government decided to give two doses of vaccine free of cost to those in the 18-45 age group.

Our aim is to ensure free vaccines for all,' he said.

He said the the decision to purchase one crore vaccines for the next three months was taken on the recommendation of a committee, headed by the health secretary.

The Chief Minister also said steps have been taken to ensure that treatment is made available to all those infected by the virus in the state.

'We have seen many news reports from other states with regard to COVID treatment and hospital facilities.

Information on availability of beds,ICU beds, ventilators in each hospital in boththe private and government sector in all districts will be updated every four hours,' Vijayan said.

Asked about liquid oxygen stocks, the Chief Minister said the state has enough to meet its needs.

'Currently, there is enough liquid oxygen in the state.

There are chances that the requirement will increase. We will keep enough for ourselves and send the rest to other states which need them,' he said.

Vijayan said Kasaragod district receives oxygen from Karnataka and there were some issues over delivery.

'We will discuss the matter with the Karnataka Chief Secretary. It's not right to stop the oxygen delivery which is normally given to a particular place.

We have been sending oxygen to Karnataka from Palakkad.

We will draw the attention of Karnataka to all these matters,' Vijayan said.

Since a lockdown is in force in Karnataka till April 27, the state has closed its broders with Kerala and was allowing only emergency vehicles and trucks carrying goods to ply through, he said. PTI RRT APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR