Kerala

Curbs to check COVID-19 spread

People hurrying to boarded buses for Coimbatore on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border at Walayar on Thursday. Buses are permitting on 40 passengers as per COVID-19 protocol.  

The State government on Thursday announced a raft of restrictions to arrest the post-Assembly election surge in COVID-19 cases.

Chief Secretary V.P. Joy said the measures ranged from the closing of bars, restaurants, cinema halls, malls, shops and commercial establishments by 9 p.m. to limiting the number of persons attending indoor and outdoor events to 75 and 150 respectively.

Those seeking to attend larger functions should produce recent COVID-19 negative certification at the entrance. Transport buses should not admit passengers over the legal seating capacity, he said.

(A law enforcement official said the government had imposed the lightest possible measures to contain the surge. The administration has refrained from imposing a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew as in other States facing a similar wave. But in practice, the police would frown on any public activity after 9 p.m. The government has not placed any restriction on night travel. But, the police would challenge vehicles passing through containment zones.)

Mr. Joy said citizens required no prior permission to hold weddings or social events. However, they have to inform the local police about such gatherings. Optimally, hosts should not encourage communal feasting. Instead, they could supply guests with parcelled meals.

Mr. Joy said various reasons, including public events and complacency in observing the COVID-19 protocol, had caused the virus to storm back. Kerala’s test positivity rate had jumped from 3% to 13% in the past two weeks. The disease could spread exponentially if not stopped dead in its tracks now.

The government has initiated a 14-day testing, vaccination and enforcement campaign to curb the surge. It hoped to flatten the rising infection curve. The strategy was to identify COVID-19 positive persons via extensive testing, treat them and ensure they did not pass on the infection to others.

Ideally, hotels should shift their emphasis from indoor dining to home delivery. Shops should follow suit to avoid crowding at market places. He said micro-containment zones would not impede the movement of COVID-19 negative residents.

Mr. Joy appealed to citizens to postpone non-essential meetings and functions for two weeks. The administration would impose the pandemic prevention protocol via consensus and with the approval of stakeholders, including residents and traders.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:24:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/curbs-to-check-covid-19-spread/article34330699.ece

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