Kerala

‘Lockdown-like’ situation for 48 hours

Guest labourers waiting at the Kozhikode railway station on Friday for trains to go back to their native places anticipating a lockdown in Kerala in view of the surging COVID-19 cases.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragesh

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said the government would impose ‘lockdown-like’ curbs on civic life in the State on April 24 and April 25.

On Monday, an all-party meeting would deliberate on the kind of restrictions the State required to press on with to retard the aggressive surge in COVID-19 cases.

The government would hold higher secondary examinations as per schedule on Saturday. Parents should drop students at examination centres and disperse immediately, he said.

They should not crowd the precincts or linger outside the examination centres. Families could come back and collect their wards after the test. The police would not impede the travel of students, parents and teachers to examination centres. However, they should produce hall tickets and identity cards if required by law enforcers, he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the government would curb non-essential travel. Optimally, people should sequester themselves at home for 48 hours. The emphasis was on remaining indoors. Citizens should put off visiting friends and avoid socialising in closed spaces. Ideally, employees should resume working from home.

Citizens should avoid long-distance travel on the weekend. However, they could visit ailing “close relatives,” attend funerals in the immediate family, participate in weddings, and venture out to procure medicines or victuals.

Travellers should furnish a sworn statement detailing their respective reason for travel. Those driving to attend weddings should carry the invitation card with them.

Wedding halls should not admit more than 75 persons. The police would not allow more than 150 persons for open-air weddings. The government has restricted the number of attendees at funerals to less than 50.

Air and rail passengers should furnish boarding passes or tickets if challenged by the police. Hotels could deliver food home. The government has banned indoor dining. Citizens could, in extreme cases, venture out to buy food as takeaways from restaurants.

The administration has exempted mediapersons, newspaper agents, telecom, IT and hospital employees from the lockdown. Mr. Vijayan said the government had spared milk distribution, meat stalls, water and power supply, and internet services from the shutdown.

Markets, shops, malls, bars and liquor outlets would remain closed. Fish vendors could deliver the day’s catch directly to homes. They should wear masks mandatorily and ensure social distancing. The State has cancelled sporting activities and shut down walking circuits, stadium, gymnasium, beaches, parks and weekend destinations till Monday.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:14:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-goes-into-48-hour-lockdown/article34394452.ece

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