Kerala

COVID-19: Kerala police scramble to impose ‘triple lockdown’ orders

A byroad leading to the main road in Thiruvananthapuram that has been barricaded by the police as part of the triple lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

The Kerala police scrambled to impose stay-at-home orders in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts on Monday. The regions were under “triple lockdown” orders since Sunday midnight to curb the startling rise in COVID-19 cases.

Officers fanned out across the localities that were shut down. They flagged down vehicles and sought the reason for travel. Officers turned back scores of persons they deemed had ventured out without a valid reason or far away from their homes.

They allowed persons with online passes and emergency workers to travel. In Thiruvananthapuram, the police barricaded 22 exit and entry points into the district. In most wards, they allowed only one route for entry and exit.

Some rush

The capital witnessed some rush in the morning. However, vehicles and pedestrians dwindled to a trickle by noon. The shutdown was almost total in the capital by 3 p.m.

Roads wore a deserted look. Retail businesses and commercial institutions, except banks, medical stores and fuel outlets, remained shut. Public transport buses, autorickshaws and taxi cabs remained off the road. Only a few plied ferrying passengers to and fro from hospitals, vaccination centres, airports, and railway stations.

Only home delivery

Hotels opened only to cater to home delivery services. The administration had banned indoor dining and takeaways. They could function on all days from 7 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.

The police patrolled harbours, fish landing centres and beaches. Police vans, kitted-out with public address systems, urged people to remain indoors. The department flew remote-controlled drones to monitor far-flung localities. Law enforcers discouraged inter-district travel, except weddings, hospital appointments and the death of next of kin.

Municipal and ward-level committees helped police fence off COVID-19 hotspots. Elected local body functionaries, neighbourhood watch and civil defence volunteers helped the police impose lockdown orders at the grassroots level. Community kitchens catered to cut-off localities. The police also allowed home delivery of hotel food and essentials. However, they prevented persons from hotspots from venturing out of their homes or neighbourhoods.

Borders closed

More than 10,000 officers are involved in pandemic duty. The police have assigned a beat officer for every ten houses in hotspots. Flying squads and motorbike patrols will back them. The police have also closed inter-State borders. The government has allowed only freight movement.

The government would review the lockdown on May 23. It was likely to ease the restrictions only if the disease transmission rate slowed down to an acceptable level.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 4:06:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/covid-19-kerala-police-scramble-to-impose-triple-lockdown-orders/article34578975.ece

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