A steady increase in Covid-19 cases across all its 14 districts has forced the Kerala government to take urgent additional measures, including restrictions on gatherings and timings of commercial establishments, besides postponing all shopping festivals. These curbs will remain in place till April 30.
The state has seen a steady increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases since around mid-March. Yesterday it reported 5,692 fresh infections and 11 deaths. Overall, it has been one of the worst-hit states since the pandemic hit India in January 2020. It is in this backdrop that the state has brought in additional measures to mitigate the spread of infection.
Notably, though, intra-state and inter-state travel, and transport of goods from other countries, have not been restricted. Neither is any separate approval or permit or pass necessary for such travel, the order released today has said.
The 12 restrictions issued today by the State Disaster Management Department include capping indoor meetings or programmes’ attendance to 100 persons and up to 200 for the outdoor ones.
Anything more than that will require the organisers to issue passes based on participants’ RT-PCR or saliva tests. The events themselves shall be restricted to two hours, with take away facility made available for food.
Shops must be closed every day by 9pm and must promote door delivery as far as possible, the order signed by Kerala Chief Secretary VP Joy said.
Mega sales and shopping festivals will be postponed for two weeks or till the pandemic eases, the order said. This is significant since the Kerala is preparing for the Hindu festival of Vishu while the Holy Islamic month of Ramzan has also begun. Together, these account for a major boom season for the state’s commercial establishments.
Transport buses have been barred from letting in more passengers than their seating capacity. District Magistrates have been given the freedom to impose further restrictions under section 144 of the CrPC depending on the local situation.