Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Tuesday extended COVID-19 restrictions by another week after Supreme Court rapped it for easing the curbs in view of Bakrid festival. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the coronavirus-related restrictions already in place would continue for another week as the average test positive rate was still above 10 per cent. The CM’s statement came hours after the Supreme Court termed as “wholly uncalled for”, the Left government’s relaxation of lockdown restrictions in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rate, ahead of Bakrid festival.Also Read - Kerala Lockdown: Impose Restrictions in Specific Micro-containment Zones, Doctor Association Urges Kerala Govt

During the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet, Vijayan said the three-day easing of restrictions in view of Bakrid being celebrated on July 21, will end on Tuesday. He also said that three lakh additional COVID-19 tests would be conducted on Friday. “There will be no relaxations in the curbs as of now. The current restrictions will continue for one more week. The average Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of the last three days has increased to 10.8 per cent. Also Read - Tamil Nadu Lockdown: State Makes RT-PCR Report Mandatory For People Coming From Kerala. Deets Inside

Take steps to bring down TPR

“The TPR is high in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts. The district administrations should effectively interfere to control the TPR,” Vijayan said in a release. The meeting directed the officials of the health department and the local self government bodies to take steps to bring down the TPR. Also Read - Kerala Coronavirus: Over 20,000 New Covid Cases For Fourth Straight Day, Central Team Rushed

Pressure groups cannot interfere with Right to Life: SC

The apex court on Tuesday directed the state government to “heed the Right to Life”, and warned Kerala of action if the easing of curbs leads to further spread of the virus and this is brought before it by any person. Pressure groups of all kinds, religious or otherwise, cannot in any manner interfere with the most precious Fundamental Right to Life of all the citizens of the country, the court observed. Vijayan had announced the concessions at a press conference on July 17.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP said the top court verdict was a setback for the state government’s unscientific COVID defence. “This is a slap on the face of the Pinarayi Vijayan government,” state BJP chief K Surendran told reporters.

Relaxations announced for Bakrid festival 2021

In view of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) being celebrated on July 21, textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and those selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18-20 from 7 AM to 8 PM in category A, B and C areas, Vijayan had said. In D category areas, these shops can function only on July 19, he had said. The areas have been categorised based on test positivity rates.

(Based on PTI inputs)