Kerala

State makes a forceful attempt to enforce lockdown

Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyaya advising a motorcyclist about the precautions to be taken and the need for staying at home to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. S Mahinsha

Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyaya advising a motorcyclist about the precautions to be taken and the need for staying at home to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. S Mahinsha   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

Police use batons to chase away citizens at several places in Kasaragod district

Kerala placed itself under a virtual lockdown on Tuesday in a forceful bid to slow down the COVID-19 outbreak.

The law enforcement went into overdrive on the first day of the State-wide shutdown to ensure that the people stayed indoors and maintained social distance. Uniformed officers wearing protective masks and wielding batons staged flag marches in several districts.

The enforcement of regulations was a notch harsher in Kasaragod, the epicentre of the outbreak in the State. The police swung batons to chase away citizens who came out in the open at several places in the northern district.

Crowding prohibited

Across the State, the police warned of gatherings of more than five people, made attempts to regulate queues in front of State-run liquor outlets, closed non-essential businesses, and allowed people to venture out only to buy groceries, milk or medicine.

They issued warnings to wayside tea stalls, hotels, eateries, convenience stores, and family-run neighbourhood utility shops to down shutters.

The State seemed yet to come to terms entirely with the new reality. In several places, senior police officers had to turn back citizens who appeared unconvinced of the need to restrict ordinary life. Most were pedestrians and two-wheeler riders. The police also detained private cars with passengers seated close together.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera said the police would further tighten the restrictions as the lockdown progressed. The police would issue passes to persons working in services deemed essential.

Close down factories

In Kannur, the police closed down a plywood factory. They shuttered a cashew processing unit in Kollam. The police took cases against persons who flouted the new regulations in Kasaragod, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kottayam, and Wayanad. The law enforcement also started a COVID-19 control room at the police headquarters here to monitor the outbreak situation.

In Kozhikode, the police curtailed the mass movement of migrant workers. Plainclothesmen inspected migrant workers camps. The government has started moving outside State labourers from crammed camps to more spacious temporary shelters on nearby school campuses and auditoriums.

The State’s borders remained sealed. The police prevented the inter-district movement of private vehicles. They prevented autorickshaws and taxi drivers from taking passengers, except for pressing needs.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 1:43:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-makes-a-forceful-attempt-to-enforce-lockdown/article31157671.ece

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