Kerala

Kerala braces itself to fight COVID surge

Senior police officers ensure that the COVID-19 protocol is being maintained at the Chala market in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.  

Kerala on Tuesday braced itself to combat the threat of a resurgent coronavirus. The State will enforce a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. till May 3.

The administration has ordered bars, hotels, liquor outlets, shops, and commercial establishment to down shutters at 7.30 p.m. Nevertheless, restaurants can serve food as takeaways till 9 p.m. No home delivery is permitted during the curfew.

The police have warned that those out of doors during the curfew would risk arrest. There is no restriction on the movement of vehicles at night. However, officers will require passengers to give them a valid reason for travel during the eight-hour shutdown.

Inter-State bus service will continue as usual. The police will discourage non-essential travel. RT-PCR negative certificates are not mandatory for inter-district travel. Law enforcement will ensure smooth movement of freight and essentials.

No weekend lockdown

A core committee meeting headed by Chief Secretary V.P. Joy reportedly ruled out imposing a total lockdown on weekends for now. However, the police will stringently restrict civic life in five districts with a higher than 20% test positivity rate. They are Kannur, Malappuram, Kasaragod, Palakkad, and Kottayam.

Autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers can admit only two and three passengers, respectively. However, the restriction will not apply to families travelling together.

Sectoral magistrates will close down commercial establishments that violate the pandemic protocol. Malls and cinema halls have to close shop at 7.30 p.m.

The government has exempted medical stores, hospitals, fuel stations, night shift employees, milk vendors, newspapers and electronic media from the curfew. Notably, the government has decided not to allow crowded merrymaking on Assembly election counting day on May 2.

Slew of restrictions

The government has imposed the curfew alongside a slew of other restrictions. It has postponed University and PSC examinations.

It has banned communal feasting and big crowds at weddings and other religious and social events. Teachers will shift private tuitions online.

Bus operators shall not allow passengers to travel standing. Restaurants will limit guests to half the seating capacity.

The police on Tuesday booked 51,444 persons for violating COVID-19 regulations. They confiscated 15 vehicles and slapped fines on 18,861 persons for failure to comply with the mask mandate.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:33:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-braces-itself-to-fight-covid-surge/article34368827.ece

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