Govt to review COVID-19 situation

May reintroduce certain restrictions

The State government will soon weigh whether to reintroduce certain restrictions lifted for Onam, including the weekend lockdown, given the continuous increase in COVID-19 cases in the State.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is currently in Kannur. An official said Mr. Vijayan was likely to take a call on the matter soon. Senior health, police and revenue officials are monitoring the pandemic situation actively.

Meanwhile, the State continued to report one of the highest infection rates in the country, with the test positivity rate (TPR) touching 16.41% on Sunday. Active cases touched 1,63,212 on Sunday.

A police official said there was a fear that the TPR may rise again and push the State back to another severe phase of the pandemic. The relatively low death rate, a high recovery percentage, and enhanced vaccination coverage were mitigating factors.

Nevertheless, reports of increasing COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation in Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Palakkad remained a cause of concern.

An official said the government would dissect whether the dialling down of some restrictions for Onam holidays had accelerated the spread of the disease.

Another official said the ban on indoor events and gatherings was unlikely to be scrapped anytime soon, given the spectre of a Delta variant driven third-wave.

The mask and physical mandate and ban on indoor dining were likely to continue. Shopping malls and cinema halls were likely to remain closed.

Ideally, the government wanted to open educational institutions from the higher secondary level and upwards by September middle without risking another coronavirus surge.

It might consider electronic health passes stored in mobile phones, including recent RTPCR negative and vaccination certificate, to further open various sectors, including shopping, entertainment and sporting activities.

The government will examine whether to reimpose the weekend lockdown and night curfew eased because of the Independence Day and Onam holidays. Some officials felt the reintroduction of the restrictions were necessary to pre-empt another protracted lockdown.

They might also recommend a reversal to a work-from-home scheme for some non-essential sectors. Officials said the government would continue to impose total lockdown in demarcated hotspots while allowing a measure of normality in localities immediately outside the micro containment zones.

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