Kerala CM Vijayan tightens Covid-19 restrictions; State, central government offices to function with reduced attendance
The Kerala government on Friday announced additional Covid-19 related restrictions in the state as the test positivity rate (TPR) continued to increase in the past few days. The new restrictions came as the state already had announced weekend restrictions to control the transmission of the virus.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday asked central and state government offices to function with reduced attendance. “In the context of the Covid spread, Central and State Government Offices, Public Offices, Public Sector Undertakings, Companies, Commissions, and Corporation offices in Category A and B local bodies can function with up to 50 per cent of staff and up to 25 per cent in Category C areas. Only essential services will operate in Category D. The remaining 50 per cent staff A and B places and 75 per cent in C, and officers from all sectors should be involved in Covid prevention activities,” news agency ANI quoted Vijayan as saying. Vijayan also directed the district collectors to take responsibility for the allocation of work.
“Since only essential services operate in the D category, the vast majority of employees will be part of the preventive measures. Areas with a high prevalence of the disease are considered clusters. At the same time, a micro-containment system will be introduced,” he said.
Stressing on the need for vaccination against Covid-19, Vijayan also said his government could inoculate 60% of the people if adequate supply is maintained by the Union government. “To avoid the possibility of the Covid third wave, we are speeding up vaccination. If we get an adequate number of vaccines from the Centre, at the pace of vaccination carried out in the state, 60% of Kerala's population can be vaccinated,” he added
On Friday, 17,518 people tested positive for the disease in Kerala while 132 more succumbed to their illness. So far, 3,235,533 cases have been reported and the death toll stood at 15,871, a bulletin from the state health department showed. The average test positivity rate stood at 12.1% for the past three days. Also, the positivity rate was found to be above 10% in 11 districts, among which, Malappuram had the highest at 17%.
Meanwhile, a campaign to immunise pregnant women in the state against Covid-19 is underway, CM Vijayan said, and so far about 40,000 women have been inoculated. “So far, 17,709,529 people have been vaccinated. Of these, 12,464,589 received a single dose of vaccine and 5,244,940 have received both doses,” he further said.
Experts warned about Kerala’s lockdown model and also the relaxation given by the state government for three days on July 18, 19 and 20 on the occasion of Bakrid. The Supreme Court too had said the relaxations were “totally uncalled for” warning the government against an increase in the number of cases. Following this, the state government on Wednesday had announced two days of complete lockdown over the weekend on July 24 and 25. Also, the health department was directed to conduct mass testing across the disease on Friday.
(With ANI inputs)