Kochi: Despite a high number of daily positive cases, Kerala has decided to lift weekend lockdown, just a day after the southern state had reported 23,676 fresh COVID cases pushing the total infection caseload to 34,49,149. Stating that the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic was decreasing in the state, Kerala Health Minister Veena George Wednesday said that the state is ending weekend lockdown, and now on shops in the state can remain open six days a week from 7 am to 9 pm. ” Weekend lockdown to be imposed only on Sundays. Shop timings will be from 7 am-9 pm for 6 days in a week. A maximum of 20 people will be allowed in weddings & funerals. No lockdown on Aug 15 & 23, considering Onam,” Kerala Health Minister Veena George on relaxations of COVID curbs.Also Read - Jammu Lockdown: Govt Mandates First Covid Vaccine For Entry into These Places From October 2 | Deets Inside
Speaking at the state assembly, George said that Kerala wouldn’t have a lockdown on August 15 and August 22, considering Independence Day celebrations and Onam Day rushes. Furthermore, George added that only 20 people will be allowed for marriage and funerals. Also Read - UK Releases New Travel Advisory, Mandates 10-Day Quarantine For Fully Vaccinated Indians
Earlier in the day, the health minister said in the Assembly that there was a general recommendation to the state that there should be an additional parameter to the TPR (test positivity rate) classification. “We need to categories areas based on cases per 1,000 of the population,” she said. Also Read - Kerala Lockdown: State Imposes Stringent Lockdown In Urban, Panchayat Wards | Check Guidelines Here
Check What’s Allowed, What’s Not:
- Shops, markets, banks, offices, financial institutions, factories, industrial establishments, open tourist spaces and other establishments can function from Monday to Saturday. All shops, tourism centres and other establishments should display the status of vaccination of employees and the number of customers permitted at a time. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of such establishments to avoid crowding inside and outside the shop. Enforcement agencies will conduct checks and take action to ensure the above.
- All establishments in the public sector, including government offices, PSUS, companies, autonomous organizations, commissions etc. will function from Monday to Friday
- Only persons who have taken at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before two weeks, or who are in possession of RT-PCR negative certificate taken 72 hours before or who is in possession of COVID-19 positive results more than a month old will be allowed inside (workers/visitors) in shops, markets, banks, public and private offices, financial institutions, factories, industrial establishments, open tourist spaces and other establishments.
- All persons (whether belonging to the categories mentioned in point (iv) or not) can move out of home for essential activities like vaccination, COVID19 testing, medical emergency, purchase of medicine, death of relatives, marriage of close relatives, local travel to catch long route bus/train/flight/ship, examinations etc.
- To avoid crowding, all shops and establishments can function from 7 am to 9pm. People will be allowed inside the shop only on the basis of the shopping area (1 person per 25 sq ft.) Hotels and restaurants will be allowed online delivery till 9:30 PM
- All transport vehicles (public and private) shall be permitted with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
- All competitive, recruitment and university examinations/sports trials shall be permitted
- There will be complete lockdown on gth August 2021 (Sunday) with the permissible activities ordered in GO(Rt)No.459/2021/DMD dated 07/06/2021 and GO (Rt)No.461/2021/DMD dated 10/06/2021. However, there shall be no lockdown on 15th August 2021 (Independence day)
- Children who have not been vaccinated can accompany adults in point
- DDMAs shall declare containment zones and shall ensure that entry/exit is not allowed from these containment zones, except for emergencies.
- Schools, Colleges, Tuition Centres, Cinema theatres, in-house dining in Hotels and restaurants etc. will not be permitted. Malls can be permitted to open only for online delivery. Educational institutions can be opened for imparting online education only. Dining will be allowed in open areas, inside vehicles , parking lots etc, maintaining six ft. distance.
- Accommodation facilities like hotels, resorts etc will be allowed in bio-bubble model in all areas on all days.
- Public functions, social, cultural and political gatherings are not permitted. However, marriages and funerals will be allowed with participation of maximum 20 persons. Places of worship shall strictly limit the maximum number of persons to 40 with each person having a minimum of 25 sq.ft area. For lesser area, the maximum number of persons shall be reduced proportionately.
- All departments shall conduct online/social media campaigns to effectively implement the restrictions.
- All departments concerned shall ensure that appropriate COVID protocol is followed in all areas. Specifically, Transport Department (Bus stops and bus depots), Fisheries Department (Fish markets, harbours and fish landing centres), LSGD (Markets and public places), Labour Department (Loading and unloading centres), Industries Department (Industrial areas and manufacturing units) etc will take coordinated action for the purpose. District Collectors shall appoint Sectoral Magistrates for strict enforcement of regulations.
- Police Department and Local Self Government Institutions concerned shall convene meetings with traders’ associations of the area to ensure that crowding inside and outside the shops does not happen. Shops shall make necessary arrangements specifically for this purpose. Home delivery/ On-line delivery shall be encouraged.
- Rapid Response Teams (RRT) shall be deployed at ward level for effective contact tracing and surveillance including monitoring of home quarantine and moving patients to Domiciliary Care Centres (DCC).
Is COVID-19 severity decreasing in Kerala?
During the Question Hour session in the Assembly, health minister Geroge stated that the number of patients seeking treatment at hospitals and those needing ICU support has dwindled. “The hospital occupancy and ICU occupancy have decreased in the state now-a-days. That means the severity of the disease is decreasing,” George pointed out.
The Health Minister also said the department is now assessing the impact of ‘break-through infection’ and ‘reinfection’ among people.
“We are examining whether people are experiencing vaccine breakthrough infection ( a COVID case that occurs in someone who is fully vaccinated) and reinfection ( a person, who was infected and recovered, is infected again),” she said.
As per a recent survey conducted by the Health Department, the reinfection rate has decreased remarkably.
However, vaccine breakthrough infection is happening in the state, she said, quoting the survey.
Rejecting opposition criticism, George told the House that if a person died of COVID-19, it would be recorded as such.
The instances of people, who died of the virus infection but excluded from the list of COVID deaths somehow, would be examined, she said, adding that no comparison had been made so far between the pandemic death figures of the Health and Local Self Government Departments.
The southern state, on Tuesday, reported 23,676 fresh COVID cases pushing the total infection caseload to 34,49,149, with the number of people succumbing to the virus rising to 17,103 after 148 more deaths.