The Kerala government on Friday decided to extend the COVID-19-induced lockdown in the state for another week as daily cases and test positivity rate (TPR) showed no signs of abating.
The ongoing lockdown, which was to be in force till May 16, will be extended to May 23, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in his customary press briefing.
The government has also decided to impose triple-lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts, where TPR is high.
Many existing relaxations will be withdrawn in these districts and more curbs come into force, Pinarayi said. All restrictions now in place will continue in rest of the districts.
Such strong measures will help contain the massive spread of virus in these districts, he said.
Vijayan said it will take some more days to know about the positive impact of the lockdown measures in checking the spread of coronavirus.
"Experts have said the month of May is very crucial for Kerala. Lockdown measures have helped the north Indian states to contain second wave of COVID-19.That is a good sign," Vijayan said.
Earlier, the health department and an expert committee had recommended an extension of the statewide lockdown. Some experts are of the opinion the lockdown should be extended till the case log shrinks substantially.
The government has decided to review it on a weekly basis and take an appropriate decision based on the daily numbers and TPR, rather than extending the lockdown at one go.
"At present the South Indian states, including Kerala, are witnessing a massive spread of virus. After May, these states may face a situation as being witnessed in the north Indian states," he said.
"If utmost care is taken in the month of May, we will be able to bring down the death rate. To ease the burden on people due to the lockdown measures, the government has adopted certain measures including the distribution of food kits and timely distribution of social security pension," the chief minister said.
What is triple lockdown?
Triple lock is a targeted strategy to contain the spread of the diseases. Triple lockdown involves three steps. The first step is to lock the designated areas to ensure that no one entered the area and no one moved out of it.
Then, clusters (places) with high number of COVID-19 cases will be placed under lockdown. Chances of the pandemic spreading are higher in these places due to the presence of primary and secondary contacts of infected persons.
The third step would be to enforce a lockdown at the houses of the infected persons. This is to ensure infected persons and their contacts stayed inside their homes, a crucial requirement to check community spread.
When will triple lockdown in come into force?
The triple lockdown will be in place for a week from Sunday (May 16, 2021).
Where was triple lockdown imposed in Kerala before?
Kerala on Friday logged 34,694 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the overall tally to 2,085,583. With 93 more deaths, the statewide toll rose to 6,243. Total recoveries were 16,36,790, with 31,319 reported in the last 24 hours. As many as 4,42,194 patients are currently being treated. In the last 24 hours, 1,31,375 samples were tested and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) was 26.41 per cent.