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Covid-19: Two-day partial 'lockdown' begins in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, April 24, 2021
With the number of Covid-19 cases spiking like never before in Kerala, the state government announced a two-day lockdown on Saturday and Sunday.
The "partial" lockdown began on a cautious note with the police taking a tough stand to not let anyone come out on the streets without any valid reason.
In view of the lockdown, all the state government offices were given a holiday on Saturday. Likewise, only shops which sell essential items are allowed to open and public transport is allowed but private vehicles are not allowed to ply without any genuine reason.
On Friday, 28,447 people tested positive for Covid, an all-time high in the state after 1,30,617 samples was sent for testing in the past 24 hours.
Across the state, currently, there are 1,78,983 Covid-positive people. In the past one week, the tally touched one lakh.
Ernakulam district with a record 29,708 active cases is now leading the rest of the state in having the highest number of cases.
"We are checking all the passing vehicles and we are acting strict and fining people besides registering cases against those who come out with a valid reason. Those who have a genuine need will be permitted to go and for that they have to come with a declaration," said a police officer engaged in enforcing lockdown norms.
In Palakkad, district police registered a case against the organisers for holding a horse race in which 54 horses took part.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday chaired a meeting with the private hospitals and asked them to allocate 25 per cent of the total beds for Covid patients.
"Even though cases are on the rise in Kerala, there need not be a worry like what is seen in north India. As a precautionary step, I held a meeting with the private sector hospitals who have pledged full support.
"We have asked them to ensure that all the ICU beds and the ventilators are checked and kept ready," Vijayan told the media here.
"Absolute caution has to be maintained by all, if things go out of hand it could go beyond our reach. The two-day lockdown protocols in the state from Saturday have been getting a good response, as by and large people have remained indoors," added Vijayan.
He again reiterated that the Centre should reconsider its vaccine policy and ensure that it is being provided free of cost.
"The new rate for Covishield vaccine in the private sector is Rs 600, which by far is the highest-priced in the whole world. The state has to pay Serum Institute (SII) Rs 400, which also is high-priced, while this has been given to other countries at a lower price than this.
"What we are told is this company is making a profit of Rs 150 per dose. These rates are not fair and again I have written to the PM Narendra Modi," said Vijayan.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the response of the people to contribute to the CMDR Fund to buy vaccines has been really encouraging and on Saturday alone Rs 1.15 crore came in.
"At the moment we are not worried about the oxygen stock and we feel we need not be too much concerned about it. We have asked the expert committee to take the call on how best we can help states which are running short of oxygen," Vijayan added.