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Kerala to impose stricter restrictions from May 4 amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Kerala’s total caseload soared to 15,33,984 with the addition of 38,607 fresh cases today, while active cases stood at 2,84,086.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (Photo: @ganeshkerala/Twitter)

The Kerala government on Thursday (April 29) announced that it was going to impose more strict measures from May 4-9 amid the surge in COVID-19 cases across the state.

With fresh cases increasing exponentially, there is need to strengthen further restrictions in addition to the present weekend lockdown like curbs on Saturdays and Sundays, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters.

For a week from May 4, stringent restrictions will be put in place. People should follow ‘self lockdown’, Vijayan said.

Under the new guidelines, no shooting of television series or documentaries will be allowed whether be it indoor or outdoor while vegetable market and fish market will be allowed to function but with two metre social distancing

Police personnel have assured that there will be no problems with regard to oxygen transportation and vehicles transporting the life saving gas cylinders, medicines and medical equipment should be marked clearly to help police identify them and ensure safe passage through traffic.

Dedicated Oxygen war rooms at the state and district levels will be set up, the chief ministersaid, adding collectors will monitor the availability of oxygen in their respective districts.

“Lockdown should be the last resort.But weare not able to control the spread of the virus. Though people are cooperating in many places, there are reports of covid guidelines being flouted from some areas”,he said.

The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) today urged the state government to impose two week lockdown in view of the rise in cases.

Only shops selling essential commodities would be allowed to function and they should encourage door delivery of goods to avoid contact with people, Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister also pointed that though banking hours were from 10 am to 2 pm due to the present situation, some branches were forcing the staff to work beyond these timings and asking them to do canvassing works.

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The state will give priority to those who are eligible for the second dose of the vaccine.

“There is no need to rush to Covid vaccination centres for this.The second dose of Covishield vaccine should be taken within 6 to 8 weeks and Covaxin within 4 to 6 weeks.”

A list of those eligible to receive the second dose of the vaccine at each vaccination centre will be available on the Cowin portal.

The slot for the first dose will be allowed for online booking only after giving preference to those taking the second dose, he said.

It is now estimated that vaccinating the vast majority of people over the age of 60 in the first phase of the Covid outbreak has helped reduce mortality in the State.

“We have been able to successfully implement early vaccination and this is the reason why the mortality rate is not rising proportionately despite the current rapid spread of the disease”, he said.

The oxygen module will be prepared and added to the Covid Jagratha portal. This will help in better utilisation as oxygen stock figures will be available in each district, he said.

As many as 4,607 cases were registered today for violating the Covid protocol. While cases were registered against 22,403 people for not wearing masks, 1,128 people were arrested and 129 vehicles seized, a police press release said.

Kerala’s total caseload soared to 15,33,984 with the addition of 38,607 fresh cases today, while active cases stood at 2,84,086.

With inputs from PTI

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