KOCHI: The Lakshadweep administration on Monday announced the extension of the complete shutdown for seven more days, beginning May 31, considering the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the islands.
The complete shutdown was first announced on May 24 for a week. Lakshadweep District Collector S Asker Ali, in an order, also announced a night curfew in five islands, including Kiltan, Chetlath, Bitra, Kadmath and Agatti.
He said the present situation made it necessary to regulate the movement of people, enhance testing capacity, ensure strict enforcement of prescribed containment strategies, focus on surveillance and strict observance of standard COVID-19 protocol to prevent further spread of the virus as per the latest guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Many essential services, including water supply, fire, electricity, police, health, disaster management, shipping, guest house, BSNL, people managing COVID-19, Indian Navy and Coast Guard have been exempted from the shutdown on the production of ID-card with COVID negative test report, the order said.
"Non-compliance will be taken seriously by the authority and appropriate actions will be taken as per the relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act-2015 and Indian Penal Code," it said.
According to officials, there are 2,006 active cases in the islands. The Test Positivity Rate is comparatively high in Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Androth, Amini and Minicoy, they said.
Authorities said the 'corona curfew' enforced in all islands with different timings and exemptions has become an effective tool in the overall containment strategies.
Last week, the Kerala High Court had dismissed a plea challenging a single bench order in which the court accepted the Lakshadweep administration's contentions in support of the revision of Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) in connection with the COVID-19 management in the islands.
The single bench had dismissed a plea challenging the revised SOP issued on December 22 last year, which substituted the earlier mandatory institutional and home quarantine of all persons travelling to the island, with just a negative test report of RT-PCR, obtained 48 hours before the travel.