Kerala govt relaxes COVID-19 norms, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government on Wednesday issued a new order regarding COVID-19 in the state and gave some relaxations with effect from August 5.

Shops, markets, banks, offices, financial institutions, factories, industrial establishments, open tourist spaces, and other establishments have been permitted to function from Monday to Saturday. All shops and establishments are allowed to function from 7 am to 9 pm.

Meanwhile, all establishments in the public sector, including government offices, PSUs, companies, autonomous organizations, commissions etc. will function from Monday to Friday.

“A complete lockdown has been imposed on August 8, Sunday. However, there shall be no lockdown on August 15, 2021 (Independence Day),” read the order.

The government in its order said that 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.

Essential activities like vaccination, COVID-19 testing, medical emergency, purchase of medicine, death of relatives, the marriage of close relatives, local travel to catch long route bus/train/flight/ship, examinations, etc are allowed.

The Kerala government capped the number of persons visiting places of worship to 40 while a maximum of 20 persons are allowed to participate in marriages and funerals.

“Public functions, social, cultural, and political gatherings are not permitted. However, marriages and funerals will be allowed with the participation of a maximum of 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,” stated the order.

On the other hand, schools, colleges, tuition centers, cinema theatres, in-house dining in hotels and restaurants etc. are not be permitted to reopen.

If an area has more than 10 COVID-infected patients per 1000 population in a week, triple lockdown will be imposed in that area for a week.

“Special intensified stringent lockdown restrictions will be enforced in the Local Self Government Institutions (LSGIs) with critical spread based on the Weekly Infection Population Ratio (WIPR). WIPR is the total number of COVID-19 infections reported in the week multiplied by 1000 divided by total population of the panchayath or urban ward. In panchayaths/urban wards with WIPR of more than 10, special intensified stringent lockdown restrictions shall be imposed,” said the order.

During the state Assembly, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said from the very beginning Kerala has been trying to reduce the severity of COVID-19 through very strong preventive measures. “In Kerala, more than half of the population is still non-infected and protected from the coronavirus through preventive measures,” she added.

According to her, the state has so far given 1,47,90,596 first doses and 62,01,105 second doses to eligible beneficiaries.

She further informed that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to make available 60 lakh doses of vaccines this month in a letter sent to him on August 2, 2021.

“The second wave of COVID-19 started a little late in Kerala. Close to 56 per cent of the population is still unaffected, so the number of our daily patients is likely to be higher than in any other state,” said George.

Kerala on Wednesday reported 22,414 new COVID cases, 19478 recoveries, and 108 deaths. The test positivity rate stands at 11.37 percent. The death toll reached 17,211.

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