Kerala

State moves into total shutdown from tomorrow

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts will enter a highly restrictive “triple lockdown” phase midnight on May 17 to curb the rise in COVID-19 infections.

The rest of the State would move into lockdown mode at the same time, he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the triple lockdown entailed a three-fold clampdown on life, mobility, socialising, production, and retail business.

The police would close all entry and exit points into the districts. There would be only one route for ingress and express. The government has suspended public transport and banned inessential travel.

Autorickshaws and taxis would remain off the road. Citizens could hail them only in the event of a medical emergency or to travel to and from airports or railway stations. Passengers should carry proof of the reason for travel.

People who assemble indoors or outdoors, violate the mask mandate, break physical distance rule or venture out of their homes without valid reason would risk prosecution and a hefty fine. No social gathering was allowed.

The police have divided triple lockdown regions into zones for focused enforcement of the pandemic code. A senior officer would head each zone.

Beat officers, patrol vans, motorbike squads, plainclothes officers, elected local body functionaries, civil defence volunteers and members of the neighbourhood watch would help the officer at the village and municipal ward level to ensure that people remained indoors and had help at hand in an emergency.

The police would fly aerial drones to surveil out of the way localities. They would use mobile phone-based geofencing technology to ensure none jumped quarantine in epidemic hotspots.

Ward level committees would ensure that community kitchen and fair price hotels catered to families under lockdown. When pressed, Mr. Vijayan said there was no restriction on hotels and restaurants delivering food home. The government would issue a detailed order later.

Agents should deliver milk and newspapers before 6 a.m. He said essential services had some leeway in timings. Medical stores and fuel bunks could open for business as usual.

The government has banned all other retail trade. Bakery and provision stores could open on alternate days. Banks could open for business from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Cooperative banks could open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday and Thursday.

Air and rail travel was allowed. Government offices would remain closed. Domestic workers, home nurses and manual labourers should download an online pass on their mobile phone to travel to work. The government has allowed construction activity.

The government would review the lockdown on May 23. A senior official said any relaxation was unlikely till the surge in COVID-19 infections abated to an acceptable level.


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:38:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-moves-into-total-shutdown-from-tomorrow/article34567758.ece

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