CM says Statewide lockdown will continue

He says it might take three weeks to achieve desired reduction

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday hinted that the Statewide COVID-19 lockdown would continue. He indicated that it might take Kerala more than three weeks to rein in the second surge of infections.

“We could perhaps safely assume that the lockdown has helped lessen disease transmission. However, the rush in hospitals is yet to abate. It will take at least two to three weeks to achieve the desired reduction,” he said.

He said the situation in Malappuram remained grim. The nine-day lockdown had not yielded the wanted result in the district. The spread was worrying and centred on houses. Most homes lacked space to isolate COVID-19 patients. Hence, the authorities had shifted many patients to first-line treatment centres to protect their families from contracting the virus.

The police would further tighten the shutdown in Malappuram. They would find those who violated quarantine and confine them in CFLTCs. The government had withdrawn triple lockdown restrictions in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Thrissur. However, hotspots remained.

Mr. Vijayan indicated that the shutdown was not forever. Rapid universal vaccination was the way out. The government would leave no stone unturned to procure vaccines for the population. Different States competing in the global market for vaccines would push up the price of the same.

Ideally, the Centre should float a global tender for vaccines for the country as a whole. Mr. Vijayan said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the subject.

The government would progressively ease restrictions as the pandemic situation improved. The Chief Minister allowed construction workers to mine hard laterite to fashion bricks for construction.

Shops selling spices, timber, and other hill produces could open for business two days a week in Wayanad and Idukki districts. So could shops selling rain guards for rubber trees. Shops selling construction material and vehicle spares could open on alternate weekdays.

He said the government would include bank officials in the priority category for vaccination.

So would those seeking to return to their workplaces abroad. Students appearing for higher secondary examinations should wear masks and observe physical distance.

In the past 24 hours, the government booked 8,094 persons for not wearing masks and 4,304 individuals for not observing physical distance. It collected ₹31,70,050 in fines.

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