Varying degrees of regulations confuse citizens during lockdown in Kerala

A police officer checks vehicles in heavy rain in Malappuram town in Kerala   | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

The enforcement of COVID-19 regulations in varying degrees across pandemic zones in Kerala appeared to throw citizens into a state of confusion on the second day of the State-wide weekend lockdown on Sunday.

The police scrambled to enforce pandemic regulations that varied from one LSGI jurisdiction to another depending on the locality’s average test positivity rate (TPR).

The enforcement appeared most strict in the Malappuram district, continually reporting the highest number of new infections (2,816 cases on Saturday). The average TPR in the district had peaked at 17%, forcing the police to fence off scores of hotspots from the rest of the State.

The micro containment zones (hotspots) in Kerala are under strict lockdown orders.

Law enforcers and ward committees insisted that residents in hotspots remained sequestered at home and venture out only in an emergency.

The police have allowed only essential services in such localities. They have restricted ingress and egress to hotspots via a single route. Officers have barricaded other entries and exits.

In Malappuram, the police shifted scores of infected persons from homes to hospitals and FLTCs from homes because of space constraints.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had warned the Delta variant could turn homes into superspreader locations.

As per government estimate, at least 55% of the State’s population remained uninfected. A large section of them is yet to get vaccine doses. They are causing the rise in Kerala’s active case pool by some accounts.

On Saturday, the State’s COVID-19 case graph climbed to 18,531 cases when 1,55,568 samples were tested over the past 24 hours.

As the denominator (the number of people tested) increased, the test positivity rate (TPR) came down from 13.63% on Friday to 11.91% on Saturday.

COVID deaths are rising again, and the official cumulative fatality now stands at 15,969, with the State adding 98 deaths, most of which occurred in the past few days, to the official list.

An official said weekend lockdown, night curfew, restrictions on retail and inessential travel 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 etc.

The government hoped to achieve a semblance of herd immunity in the next 90 days by ramping up vaccination and testing, he said.

It has slashed attendance at public offices to 50% and put half of the workforce on standby for COVID-19 duty in a sign that the administration would extend the partial lockdown in Kerala well into August.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 12:06:27 AM |

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