Kerala

State imposes minimal curbs to check COVID-19 resurgence

The government on Monday imposed minimal curbs on everyday life in a bid to flatten the rising curve of COVID-19 infections.

The police would proactively impose the mask mandate and ensure social distancing in public spaces.

The administration restricted indoor dining to less than half the seating capacity. Hotels should down shutters at 9 p.m. It was unclear whether the new time constraint applied to bars, which close at 11 p.m.

Open-air and indoor gatherings should not number more than 200 and 100, attendees respectively. The government has warned against communal feasting and suggested that organisers supply guests with parcelled meals instead.

Supermarkets should not hold retail events that tend to attract large crowds.

Chief Secretary V.P. Joy chaired a meeting of top law enforcement, health, and revenue officials to take a call on the character, swathe, and intensity of the likely curbs.

The Central government had ruled that a total lockdown was not the panacea for retarding the pace of infections.

However, it had stressed that States had considerable latitude in imposing brakes on life, travel, retail, indoor dining, sporting, and social activities to slow down the resurgence.

An official said the government had to walk a tight rope between reining in the flare-up and keeping the economy ticking. It had to convince people to shed their complacency and realise the pandemic had not run its course in Kerala. The election season had contributed to the summer surge in new cases.

District administrations could issue further guidelines or impose higher restrictions as the ground situation demanded.

The police had reportedly argued against sweeping restrictions. They have appealed for limiting curbs to pandemic hotspots to prevent the infection from radiating out while allowing life to continue as usual outside the epicentres.

A law enforcer said the public seemed to resent the attempt to restrict mobility and regulate trade in markets. Many traders felt the authorities were hurting their business and livelihood.

Moreover, the police were often hard-pressed to limit guests at marriages and similar functions. Hence, any attempt to reintroduce pandemic restrictions would require the community’s cooperation.

The government would strengthen pandemic control measures at the ward level. Local self-government institutions (LSGI) would spearhead the campaign. Elected local body members, health workers, and volunteers would monitor the disease at the household level.

The State had urged the Centre to replenish its dwindling stock of COVID-19 vaccines to keep Kerala’s mass inoculation programme on track.

The meeting allowed darshan at the Guruvayur temple on Vishu day with restrictions.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 6:39:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-imposes-curbs-to-check-covid-19-resurgence/article34304424.ece

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