THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will approach Centre seeking more relaxation in lockdown restrictions in view of the drop in coronavirus cases in the state.
The state has decided to approach the Centre in the wake of letter by the seeking explanation from the state after it allowed opening of activities, prohibited under Consolidated Revised Guidelines on Lockdown measures, issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 15 April.
Speaking to the media, chief secretary Tom Jose said, "Kerala has received a letter from Centre regarding the dilution of lockdown guidelines. We are discussing what can be done. If needed, necessary modifications will also be made. Kerala will also seek more relaxations."
The state government has issued an Order (No. 78/2020/GAD dated 17.04.2020) revising guidelines for lockdown measures. In the Order, the state has allowed opening of activities which are prohibited in the Order dated 15.04.2020 of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Such additional activities allowed by the state, includes opening of local workshops; barber shops; restaurants; book stores; MSMEs in municipal limits; bus travel in the cities/towns for shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four-wheeler; pillion riding on scooters.
But the order amounts to dilution of guidelines issued by MHA and violation of the MHA Order dated 15th April 2020 issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005, said the letter sent by the Centre. Meanwhile, the meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, it was decided to withdraw some of the relaxations allowed in the revised order following the sharp response from Centre.
The decision to allow opening of barber shops on Saturday and Sunday and dining in hotels from 7 am to 7 pm has been withdrawn. However, beauticians or barbers can offer their service at homes on demands of customers.
When the dining in hotels was withdrawn, the state has rescheduled the timing of online food delivery extending the time to 9 pm. It is also not clear whether other relaxations allowed by the state will stand in the backdrop of the letter from the Centre.