THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid the surge in COVID-19 infection in Kerala, the nine-day statewide lockdown started on Saturday morning. The lockdown, which began at 6 am, will be effective till May 16.
Only essential and emergency services are allowed. The police began strict inspection on the roads and all roads wore a deserted look on Saturday. Vehicles will be allowed only if they are carrying ID cards of essential or emergency services and those who carry a pass issued by police and having a self-declaration affidavit.
Self-declaration forms are compulsory for emergency travel during the lockdown. Vehicles related to hospital emergencies and media vehicles are also exempted from the restrictions.
While many people choose to stay indoors, public transportation including KSRTC buses and Kochi metro aren't allowed to function. Flights and inter-state trains will be running as per schedule. However, all intra-state train services were cancelled till May 16.
People coming from other states must register on 'COVID Jagratha' portal or undergo a 14-day quarantine at their own expense. All shops other than those selling medicines and food items will remain closed. All restaurants, which are opened only for takeaways and home deliveries, can operate from 7 am to 7:30 pm.
Essential supply stores are also allowed to give home deliveries. As many as 25,000 police personnel have been deputed for surveillance duty and given orders for seizing all unauthorised private vehicles across the state.
On Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced more restrictions like limiting the services of banks to three days a week and ensuring accommodation of labourers at the construction sites to ensure that traveling is done for essential purposes only.
In view of the lockdown, the government will distribute free grocery kits through ration shops this month as well. The community kitchen, which was successful during the first lockdown imposed last year, will also begin during the lockdown period.
Roadside eateries are not allowed to function.