THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After imposing a lockdown for 40 days to bring down the Covid surge, the state government has decided to ease the restrictions from Thursday at the local body level, based on the intensity of virus spread. However, the total lockdown across the state on weekends will continue.
Announcing the relaxations after assessing the state’s Covid situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said shops selling essential goods will remain open across the state from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Friday. Industrial and agricultural activities will be permitted in all local bodies and transportation facility will be allowed for workers in these sectors.
Public transport will be allowed in a limited manner from Thursday. Banks will continue to function across the state on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. While gatherings and public functions will not be allowed, a maximum of 20 people can continue to attend weddings and funerals as earlier.
Central and state government offices, PSUs, commissions, corporations and autonomous institutions can function on all working days with 25% staff on rotation basis. In the government secretariat, 50% of the staff will work on rotation basis.
All national and state-level examinations, including sports selection trials, will be allowed. Restaurants will remain open, but only takeaway and home delivery will be allowed. Bevco outlets and bars will reopen from Wednesday and slots can be booked through mobile app. Malls will continue to remain shut while tourism, entertainment and indoor activities that involve crowds will not be allowed. However, outdoor sports without physical contact will be allowed.
Curbs as per spread assessed at local-body level, says CM
Printing presses will be allowed to reopen. Registration offices and stamp vendors/document writers will also be permitted to function a limited manner. The sale of lottery will be allowed in the wake of the crisis in the sector.As part of easing restrictions, local bodies have been divided into four categories — those with a test positivity rate (TPR) of less than 8% are categorised as ‘low spread’, 8 to 20% as ‘moderate spread’, 20 to 30% as ‘high spread’. In civic bodies with over 30% TPR, very strict restrictions will be imposed.
“On every Wednesday, the seven-day average Covid spread will be assessed at the local- body level and the district administrations concerned will publish the categories in which the civic bodies fall,” the CM said.The health department will issue Covid test target to each local body. The first person who tests positive in a household will be allowed home quarantine only if there is sufficient isolation facilities.
Pinarayi said the average TPR over the past three days in the state was 12.1%. All districts except Thiruvananthapuram, have recorded TPR of less than 15%. The capital is poised to record the highest number of daily cases next week. He warned the capital district is also likely to see a 5% increase in the number of new cases in the coming week and an increase of 1% is expected in Thrissur district.
“The number of cases is expected to decrease in all other districts. Although the state as a whole has been able to control the second wave to a large extent, the TPR is high in many panchayats. They will be identified and strict restrictions will be enforced,” the CM said.