The nine-day complete lockdown from May 8 to check the massive spread of COVID-19 in Kerala will be enforced strictly, with modification in guidelines for the financial sector like banks, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Friday. He also said that to ease the burden on the people due to the spread of disease and lockdown measures, the government would continue to provide free provision kits to all ration card holders, irrespective of categories this month too.
The kits would be given to guest workers (as migrant workers are called in Kerala) as well and distribution would commence next week, Vijayan told a press conference here. The steps taken for strict enforcement of the lockdown include deployment of about 25,000 police personnel under the leadership of top police officers holding responsibility of law and order, to ensure adherence to guidelines.
Stringent measures would be adopted to control movement of the people. However, movement of goods will be permitted, the CM said.
Construction activities will be allowed to ensure that income sources of guest workers are not affected, Vijayan said. The contractors or the building owners should make arrangements for food and comfortable stay of guest workers at the place of work itself, the Chief Minister said.
Seeking the cooperation of the people, Vijayan said the measures were for their welfare and urged them to avoid inter-district travel. A Government Order reiterated that anyone violating the guidelines would be liable to be proceeded against under the relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act-2005, Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance-2021 and other relevant laws in force.
The CM said police would issue passes for those who wished to go out for emergency purposes. If a shortage of health workers arises to deal with the situation on the ground, students will be also trained to fill the vacuum, Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister also said the functioning of banks should be arranged on alternative three days in a week. The government also made a modification in the guidelines, saying banks, insurance, financial services, capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI and cooperative credit societies shall function only on alternate days during lockdown -Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
There would also be a complete shutdown of roadside shops selling fast food The government, however, allowed opening of vehicle repair workshops in the last two days of the week. Vijayan said a war room will be set up to provide information on the supply of Oxygen and added that steps have been taken to ensure its availability in hospitals.
The Chief Minister also said district collectors have been directed to take strict action against those who charge higher amounts for pulse oximeters.