Curbs eased in Kerala, shops can open on Saturdays too

Traders will be required to ensure physical distancing of customers. (Representational image)  

The Kerala government has permitted traders to open for business on all days, except Sunday.

The administration will impose triple lockdown only in neighbourhoods that report more than 10 new COVID-19 infections a week from among a local population of 1,000.

The government lifted the Sunday weekend lockdown on August 15 and 22, given Independence Day and Onam. The amended pandemic rules would kick in from Thursday.

Stipulations for traders

The administration has extended shop timings from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, traders should ensure that customers wear masks and observe physical distance. They should assign 25 square feet of space to a single customer.

Ideally, only persons who turn negative in RT-PCR test or have already received at least one dose of the vaccine should visit shops. The ban on indoor dining remains. However, hotels can give takeaways. The accent is on home delivery.

Curbs on gatherings remain

The restriction on social, cultural and political events remain. Not more than 20 persons can participate in marriages and funerals. Places of worship can allow only fewer than 40 persons at a time. The management should restrict visitors as per the space available.

Health Minister Veena George unveiled the amended pandemic rules in a statement under rule 300 in the Assembly. It was unclear from her statement whether sporting activities could resume.

The Minister said the government was focused on keeping the death rate low. It will ensure that every person above the age of 60 received two doses. Doctors will administer the vaccine to bedridden patients and senior citizens at their homes.

Ms. George said the second wave of COVID-19 infection was yet to abate. Kerala’s death rate is less than half the national average (1.34%). The State’s test per million is almost double that of the country.

Fifty-six per cent of the State population has not contracted the infection because of effective containment measures, ramped up testing, and accelerated zero wastage vaccination, she said. The State’s TPR (12.45%) was double that of the national average due to enhanced testing.

The spectre of a third wave loomed. The government has attempted to preserve life and protect livelihood in some measure, given the constraints imposed by the pestilence.

Opposition welcomes move

Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheeshan welcomed the announcement. He said Kerala, like other States, should “learn to live with COVID-19”. Pandemic management should not be at the cost of livelihoods. Ideally, disease mitigation and economic revival should march in lockstep, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:09:23 AM |

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