An all-party meeting held Monday to discuss the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic decided not to go for complete lockdown in Kerala but wanted that curbs be implemented strictly.
After the meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that all political parties have agreed to the stand of the government that the state need not go for complete lockdown at this stage.
The Chief Minister said although curbs would be made stricter, the government does not want to see construction and manufacturing sectors coming to a standstill. “All productive sectors should move ahead with the economic activities. Hence, the government is dropping the idea of complete lockdown. Agriculture, industry, SMEs, NREGS and such sectors should function to maintain Covid-19 protocol,’’ he said.
“However, considering the grim situation in the state, more stringent restrictions would be required. On the day of counting of votes on May 2, all parties have agreed to abandon victory processions. At counting centres or their premises, public would not be allowed. Only officials would be allowed entry at the centres. The entry would be limited to those who have taken two doses of vaccine or otherwise those who have RT-PCR test negative certificate obtained within 72 hours,’’ he said.
He urged people to wear two masks while going to public places. The existing extra restrictions on weekends would continue. There would be only essential services on weekends. In government offices, only half of the staff need to be reported for duty on a day. Control rooms would be opened in all districts to help the migrant workers, who should continue in their present place of residence. Liquor bars, liquor outlets, movie theaters, shopping malls and other entertainment centres would have to be closed down temporarily as part of fresh curbs.
He said as the cases are going up, the treatment facilities would be increased. More oxygen beds and ventilators would be made ready.
On Monday, Kerala reported 21,890 new cases taking the active caseload to 2.32 lakh.
The highly infectious coronavirus variants from the UK and South Africa has been driving the fast spread of Covid-19 in Kerala from the beginning of April. “About 40 per cent of the present cases have been infected by the highly infections strain. The highly infectious UK strain was found among 30 per cent, double mutant strain among 7 per cent and the South African strain among 2 per cent,’’ said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.