No stringent Covid curbs on normal life in Kerala

Hospital occupancy new metric to decide on restrictions; lockdown-like norms on Sundays

Published: 21st January 2022 06:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2022 06:50 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opting to take a calibrated approach in Covid containment, the state government on Thursday refrained from imposing stringent restrictions on normal life even as the number of daily cases set a new record with TPR crossing 40%.  

Except for lockdown-like restrictions to be imposed on two upcoming Sundays — January 23 and 30 — other measures are directly linked to the status of hospital bed occupancy in a district. School classes for 10, 11 and 12 and college classes will continue in the offline mode while those for lower standards will be online. 

The availability of hospital beds, oxygen beds, ICU beds and ventilators will be assessed on a weekly basis. Districts will be divided into A, B and C categories based on the  infection rate, each set having different rules to control crowd. 

The online Covid review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who joined from the US where he is on treatment, avoided knee-jerk decisions as in the past. People are allowed to visit shops, malls, beaches, cinema halls and tourist spots.

The only condition set is that the institutions concerned must ensure that there is no crowding and Covid protocol is followed properly. Sanitiser dispensers must be made available inside the buildings at a particular distance. Families can dine together in public places, but arrangements must be made in such places to prevent spread.

The state reported 46,387 new Covid  cases and 62 Omicron cases on Thursday. However, only 3% of active cases availed  hospital treatment. 

Religious functions must be restricted to online

The Disaster Management Authority will revise the list of A, B, C category districts every Friday. Only 50 people will be allowed to attend marriages, funerals and public functions in districts coming under Category A. This week Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Kollam are listed in Category A. If the district comes under Category B, then only 20 people will be allowed to attend marriages and funerals and no public functions will be allowed. Religious functions must be restricted to online.

Five districts - Palakkad, Idukki, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts come under Category B this week. If the district comes under Category C all restrictions for Category B will be followed. In addition, theatres, swimming pools and gyms will be shut. All classes of final year students of graduate and post-graduate courses, standard 11 and 12 will function in the offline mode. All other classes including tuition classes will be switched to onine mode.

Residential educational institutions following bio bubble model with limited outside exposure can function normally. At present, there are no districts under Category C. Districts which were not classified into A,B or C need to follow existing restrictions only. The review meeting also authorised district collectors to impose additional restrictions to deal with the prevailing situation, in consultation with the chief secretary.

“Most of the infected are in their homes. So the telemedicine facility should be widely used with the support of local bodies. Health workers are trained to ensure care for people under home isolation. Besides ward level committees will ensure patient care,” the chief minister said. Mother of children below two years, cancer patients and severely sick should be given the option of work from home in government and private institutions. The sick should produce a medical certificate to avail the facility. Pinarayi said that there should be a proper referral system for admission in medical colleges.

50 employees at Kottayam MCH +ve
With more than 50 employees, including doctors and house surgeons, testing positive for Covid at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam, the MCH authorities have suspended regular classes for two weeks. The hospital also cut short its services and postponed all kinds of surgeries.


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