Kerala

State poised to extend COVID-19 restrictions

A health worker collects nasal swab samples from a man for a COVID -19 test at a mobile lab at Palakkad. File   | Photo Credit: MUSTAFAH K.K.

The State government appeared to signal on Saturday that the virulence of the COVID-19 Delta variant might constrain it to further extend the partial lockdown in place in Kerala.

As a precursor of possible further tightening of restrictions, the administration has slashed the attendance in government offices even in relatively low and medium spread localities to 50 per cent (A and B category).

Staff deployment

It has placed the rest of the workforce under the command of respective District Collectors to deploy for COVID-19 prevention and containment activities.

In high spread localities (Category C), government offices would not allow more than 25% of employees to report for work.

The order applied to PSUs, quasi-government undertakings, commissions and State-run companies. The supervisors should put the non-working staff on standby for COVID-19 duty.

The district administration would clamp down on non-essential activity in critical spread areas (above 15% average test positivity rate).

It will demarcate hotspots and infection clusters as micro-containment zones and impose total lockdown with access only to essential services.

The police and ward committees would ensure that people remain sequestered at home in such zones. They would allow ingress and egress to hotspots only through a single route.

The police would barricade other entries and exits. The government has imposed total lockdown in several local self-government institutions (LSGI) in Malappuram, which reported a worryingly high average TPR of 17%.

The government has asked ward committees to shift infected persons who lack private space to isolate themselves at home to nearby hospitals or FLTCs.

The government was worried that the Delta variant had turned several homes in North Kerala into superspreader locations.

An official said weekend lockdown would continue till the TPR plummeted and reached the safety threshold of less than 3%. So would other restrictions, including the mask mandate, physical distancing, the ban on indoor dining, access to cultural venues, stadiums, shopping malls, sporting turfs.

Above 10%

He said the TPR was above 10% in 11 districts. The government hoped to achieve a semblance of herd immunity in 90 days by ramping up vaccination and testing.

The TPR was above 15% in at least 271 LSGI jurisdictions. The restrictions on retail would continue. Non-essential shops and automobile workshops would open only on alternate days on weekdays.

The government has allowed bars and liquor outlets to open from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m. to mitigate crowding.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:50:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-poised-to-extend-covid-19-restrictions/article35512355.ece

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