Kerala imposes complete lockdown on July 24, 25; mass Covid-19 testing planned at districts with high positivity rate
The Kerala government on Wednesday said that the state will be under complete lockdown throughout the weekend on July 24 and 25.
As part of Covid-19 containment activities, the state disaster management department issued the orders, which would come into effect from 12am on July 22. It has directed the state health department to conduct a mass testing campaign for Covid-19 on July 23 (Friday) in districts where the seven-day average of positivity rate is more than 10%.
“The Health and Family Welfare Department is directed to conduct a mass testing campaign on Friday, 23rd July 2021 with a target of 3 lakh tests across Kerala with special focus on Districts where the seven-day average TPR is above 10%. Further, the number of daily tests shall also be enhanced urgently to the peak testing capacity for the effective containment of the pandemic,” the order said.
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Previously, the state government on July 16 had relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions in Kerala for three days from July 18 to July 20 on account of Bakri Eid celebrations on July 21.
Shops selling textiles, footwear, jewellery, home appliances, electronic items, fancy stores and repair shops were allowed to function between 7am and 8pm on the three days.
Following this, the Supreme Court said that the easing of curfews in the state for three days owing to the Bakri Eid celebrations was “wholly uncalled for.” The top court also said that the government giving in to pressure from traders disclosed a “sorry state of affairs.”
The court had also urged the Kerala government to heed to the Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution and follow the law laid down in its July 16 order passed in the matter of Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh, where the court had noted that all sentiments are subservient to the Right to Life.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association had urged the Kerala government to reconsider its order on relaxing the restrictions. The medical body’s president Dr JA Jayalal said that the way in which the lockdown was implemented was “controversial.”
“The way in which they adopted the lockdown is very controversial. They are giving intermittent lockdowns for two days,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
“We are definitely not saying that the entire lockdown has to be enforced. But if a policy of two days of lockdown is undertaken and the rest of the days are free, a rush is natural. Instead of that, you can evenly distribute it and ensure people are wearing the mask,” he further added.
(With agency inputs)