Pinarayi asks State to brace for a third COVID-19 wave
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reinstated night curfew (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend lockdown from Sunday.
He said the restrictions were necessary to moderate the steepening curve of COVID-19 infections, reduce hospitalisations, and prevent deaths.
Mr. Vijayan asked Kerala to brace for a third wave. Infections had spiked after Onam. The pandemic showed no sign of slackening its vice-like grip. The days ahead were fraught with danger and warranted utmost caution. The road back to normalcy was exasperating and protracted.
He said the government had expanded health-care facilities in anticipation of a possible upsurge in COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly contagious Delta variant. The State had ramped up vaccination to achieve herd immunity quickly. But, it was nowhere near the finishing line in the race against the pandemic.
Mr. Vijayan said the emphasis was on preventing deaths. Citizens with comorbidities who turn COVID-19 positive should get hospitalised early and mandatorily. Local self-governments should ensure their welfare. The administration should move patients to quarantine centres to prevent homes from becoming COVID-19 clusters.
The Chief Minister said the government would impose lockdown in localities where the average WIPR was above seven. Mr. Vijayan called a meeting on September 1 to cobble together a roadmap for COVID-19 mitigation. The conference would include top virologists, public health experts, and administrators.
Mr. Vijayan said the pandemic had hurt social life. “We need to heal the wounds,” he added. On September 3, the government would engage presidents and secretaries of local self-governments. Both the meetings would devise measures to protect life and restore livelihood.
The government deputed a senior IPS officer to monitor COVID-19 management, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distance, in all districts.
The nodal officer would continuously tour their respective jurisdiction, ensure compliance with the pandemic protocol, and liaison with other stakeholders, including traders and elected office-bearers of resident’s associations.
Another official said the restrictions on gatherings would continue. Entertainment and cultural venues were likely to remain closed. Vaccinated persons might have to carry electronic proof of their immunisation to use public transport or gain entry to malls.
The Delta variant of the virus posed a new set of pandemic management challenges for Kerala. He said the government had to save the State from sliding back into the worst days of the pandemic.
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