Strict curbs on mobility, civic life as Kerala heads into lockdown from May 8

Migrant workers waiting to board a train outside the North railway station in Kochi a day before the State-wide lockdown is set to kick in, on May 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: VIBHU H.

On May 7, a top-level meeting of State police officials pushed for vigorous imposition of stay-at-home orders in Kerala from May 8 to May 16.

The police appeared poised to prioritise strict enforcement of lockdown restrictions over personal liberty.

The law enforcement attempts to reach out to citizens in crisis during the shutdown through a distress helpline — 112. Senior citizens can use the round-the-clock helpdesk to get medicines supplied home during the lockdown.

No public transport

Public transport, including inter-district stage carriage services, will ground to a halt by 9 p.m. on May 7.

The police will only permit essential travel. Law enforcers will turn others back. The government has requested citizens to sequester themselves indoors as far as possible. People should venture out only to procure victuals or medicines. They should exercise at home and shun long walks and other sporting or athletic activities.

Double masking

N-95 masks should be worn in public, ideally. Alternatively, a surgical mask over a cloth mask must be worn. Persons should maintain a distance of a minimum of two metres.

Citizens should confine their shopping to neighbourhood stores. An official said those who venture a good way from their homes without reason or violate the mask and physical distancing mandate risk detention and fine.

The police will invoke the sweeping powers granted by the Disaster Management Act to stop and question people, including pedestrians and motorists, at random.

Inter-district checkpoints

Checkpoints at inter-State borders will be set up. The government has banned inessential inter-district travel. Those entering Kerala via road from neighbouring States have to furnish a COVID-19 negative certificate. They have to register themselves in advance on the e-Jagrata portal.

The government has mobilised excise and forest department enforcers, school teachers, election officials and government staff on a war footing to aid the pandemic control effort.

Traditional fishing allowed

The meeting argued against allowing the fish auction at harbours to prevent overcrowding. The police will not restrict traditional fishers and hawkers.

Officers had faced instances where traders and citizens had bridled at lockdown restrictions during the weekend. Hence, the police would patrol markets and neighbourhoods along with the respective ward councillor or panchayat member and impose restrictions.

Members of the neighbourhood watch and civil defence will help officers impose the pandemic code via consensus.

The police will fly aerial surveillance drones to cover far-flung neighbourhoods and coastal localities.

Only home delivery, no takeaways

The government reminded citizens that there was no cause for panic stocking up of essentials. Shops selling food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, animal fodder, poultry and cattle feed and bakeries will remain open till 7.30 p.m.

The emphasis is on home delivery. Indoor dining is banned, as are takeaways. Hotel food can be delivered home only as parcel.

However, a hotel owner said most establishments were likely to remain closed due to the non-availability of staff during the lockdown.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera chaired the conference via video link.

On May 8, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would chair a State-level meeting of elected LSGI functionaries. Local bodies are spear-heading the pandemic effort.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 2:02:08 PM |

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