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EXPLAINER: Kerala's triple lockdown to fight COVID

In the wake of the COVID-19 TPR remaining high in all districts in Kerala, the ongoing state-wide lockdown has been extended by a week till May 23.

Published: 15th May 2021 03:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2021 09:18 PM   |  A+A-

Lockdown

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

In the wake of the COVID-19 test positivity rate (TPR) remaining high in all districts in Kerala, the ongoing state-wide lockdown has been extended by a week till May 23.

Triple lockdown, with stricter restrictions like no inter-district travel, cordoning off containment zones with single entry/exit point and ban on infected persons and their contacts from stepping outside their houses, will be in force in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram from May 16 (Sunday) on account of the high caseload in these districts.

As the name suggests, there will be three levels of locking down

  1. First is locking down the assigned area. Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and  Malappuram districts will be locked down in such a manner that nobody moves in and out of the district. Surveillance on district borders will be beefed up. Exemption will be only for emergency cases

  2. Second lock is for containment zones in these districts where more cases and their contacts reside. Police will cordon off such areas with single entry/exit points. Residents will be advised to stay indoors strictly. Only hospitals and medical shops will be allowed to function. As per plan, door delivery of essentials such as grocery and food need to be provided. If there are many clusters, there will be an exemption for shops selling essential items to function for designated hours as door delivery plan may not always be feasible

  3. Third lock is at houses where infected and primary contacts live. They won’t be allowed to step out till the stipulated period of quarantine is over. Police and  local body authorities will arrange door delivery of food, medicines and grocery to these houses

Origin

  • Triple lockdown was introduced by the state police in Kasaragod last year during the first wave of COVID-19

  • In the second week of April 2020, triple lockdown was introduced in  Pallikkara, Udma, Chemmanad, Chengala, Madhur and Mogral Puthur  panchayats and Kasaragod municipality, where cases had been very high 

  • IG Vijay Sakhare who was appointed the nodal officer there promoted the idea

  • In July last year, triple lockdown was implemented in Thiruvananthapuram  district following a surge of cases mainly in coastal areas

Implementation

  • Police will take over surveillance of district borders and containment zones. Mobile  numbers of infected people and their primary contacts will be tracked for any movement outside the houses, and if noted, immediate action will be taken  

  • Government offices, private institutions and educational institutions will be asked to close down. Exception will be only for highly essential wings

Challenges

  • When triple lockdown was introduced last year in Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram, daily positive cases were around 20 to 30 and total number of primary contacts was less than 300. Moreover, most of these cases were in two or three clusters, making things easier to manage

  • On Friday, Thiruvananthapuram had 4,346, Ernakulam 3,739, Thrissur 3,148 and Malappuram 3,775 new COVID-19 positive cases. These people are spread over the district, rendering the concept of containment zones insignificant. Tracking the primary contacts of each infected person  will be a humongous exercise that will only add to the burden of the over-stressed police force 



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