State grapples to contain case resurgence

Kerala grappled on Saturday to contain the COVID-19 resurgence. The government ratcheted up restrictions on civic life to flatten the rising infection curve.

It has clamped down on night life. Urban roads and downtown localities wore a deserted look after 9 p.m. Commercial establishments, except medical stores, remained shuttered. Vehicular traffic on highways had dwindled after dark.

Chief Secretary V. P. Joy urged citizens to inform the government in advance about social functions. Optimally, they should tell the government about upcoming social events by flagging the gatherings on the Jagratha portal. The citizens should also inform the local authorities about events held at the household level. It limited the number of attendees at indoor and outdoor events to 75 and 150 respectively.

The police fanned out across the State to enforce the mask and social distancing mandate. In Thiruvananthapuram, they unobtrusively enumerated the number of guests at weddings held at marriage halls.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera called for visible policing to remind the people about the scourge's looming threat and prevent any slide back into pre-COVID-19 era complacency.

In a Facebook post, the Kerala Police said they were tightening controls, given the high incidence of new cases. People entering Kerala from abroad or other States should register their names on the Jagratha portal mandatorily.

A police officer said the law enforcement would incrementally tighten measures to combat the surge. The police would not allow any public or group activity after 9 p.m. Commercial establishments, including bars, hotels, malls and cinema theatres, have to down shutters at 9 p.m.

The government has not placed any restriction on night travel. However, police would challenge vehicles passing through hotspots and containment zones. They would post pickets to regulate movement in and out of hotspots. If necessary, the police would barricade roads. They would impose fines and register cases against those who endanger public health by infringing on the pandemic protocol.

The tightening of restrictions has raised the spectre of another period of economic hardships. The early closure of hotels, malls, theatres and commercial establishment has resulted in a measure of job loss.

Private bus operators have scaled-down services after the government insisted they should not admit passengers above the seating capacity.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:12:38 PM |

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