COVID-19 surge: Kerala enters a relatively less intense lockdown phase

The KSRTC city and long distance buses are seen parked in bulk at the Ernakulam depot, following the ongoing lockdown. The pandemic has lessened demand for public transport.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Kerala entered a relatively less stringent COVID-19 lockdown phase on Monday.

The government will review the shutdown on June 9. It will gauge its impact on the epidemic and decide whether to intensify or relax the restrictions further.

Kerala had clamped down heavily on life, mobility, retail and production since May 8 to retard a seemingly relentless tide of coronavirus infections that threatened to overwhelm the State’s health infrastructure.

Economic revival

A recent dip in the test positivity rate had prompted the government on Saturday to lessen the intensity of regulations to coax some moribund sectors back into life.

The government also lifted the triple lockdown in Malappuram, bringing the entire State under a standard pandemic control code.

The administration attempts to walk a tightrope between reviving the economy and keeping the pestilence at bay. An official says the government is mulling more steps to mitigate the loss of livelihood and restore production.

Industrial production

Industrial production is set to resume in stages from Monday. Factories, including those in the traditional coir and cashew sectors, could operate with not more than 50% of the registered workforce.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation would conduct minimal services to transport workers to industrial localities and back. However, the workers should carry identity cards and state their purpose of travel on an affidavit. The ban on casual travel remained in force. Banks could remain open till 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Construction sector

The government also wanted to keep the construction sector running. Builders have to accommodate workers at the site or arrange special vehicles to ferry them to and fro from their camps. The government has allowed stone crushing units to operate with minimal staff to cater to the building sector. So could shops selling construction material.

Given the emphasis on home delivery, the administration has allowed units producing and selling packaging to function.

Textile shops

Textile shops, jewellery and footwear showrooms “catering to weddings” could do business till 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Academic bookshops and shops selling school supplies should follow the exact timetable.

Toddy sale resumes

The government has allowed toddy shops to give parcels. The government has not set a date for the resumption of the sale of legal liquor. Excise Minister M. V. Govindan has ruled out online sales and home delivery of alcohol.

Ban on activities remain

Walking circuits, parks, stadiums, beaches, gymnasiums, hairdressing saloons, cosmetic treatment parlours, swimming pools, shopping malls, and cinema theatres remained close. There is a veto on outdoor athletic activity and games till further notice. The government was also yet to lift the ban on indoor dining or takeaways. Only home delivery of food is allowed.

Autorickshaws and taxis can ferry passengers to hospitals, vaccination centres, hospitals, airports and railway stations. The ban on inessential and inter-district, and inter-State travel continued.

The police have asked citizens to restrict their outings for stocking up on emergency supplies to shops in their neighbourhood. Citizens found venturing a good distance away from their neighbourhoods risk prosecution and fine.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:43:27 AM |

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