With no respite in the surge of new coronavirus infections, lockdown-like restrictions are set to come into effect in Kerala from Tuesday till May 9.
The test positivity rate in the state stands at a whopping 28.37, indicating that at least one out of four persons being tested daily is detected with Covid-19. Five out of the 14 districts reported an excess of 3,000 new cases on Monday, taking the active caseload closer to 3.4 lakh. The surge continues even as Kerala is observing weekend and night curfews with police clampdown across villages and towns.
Starting Tuesday till May 9, there will be strict curbs on non-essential activities and travels. People cannot step outside their homes, except for emergency purposes such as taking vaccine shots, seeking medical care and buying essential items.
Shops selling milk, meat, groceries and vegetables can stay open, but home delivery must be encouraged to avoid contact with customers. Use of double masks and social distancing is mandatory at such markets.
Hospitals, media organisations, telecom, IT, milk, water and power services and newspaper delivery have been classified under essential enterprises and can therefore function on these days. Restrictions will apply for weddings and funerals. Restaurants and hotels can deliver food to homes and offices, but dine-in options will not be allowed.
Those working in private firms will be asked to show their identification cards to police on the roads. Garments, jewellery and barber shops cannot function on these days.
Experts have been prodding the state government to shut down the state for two weeks in order to break the chain of transmission. If cases rise at the present pace, the health system, already teetering on the edge, will break down completely, they said. In cities like Kochi, home to an extensive public and private healthcare system, people have already been complaining of not getting access to critical-care ICU beds and ventilators.