The Kerala government on Tuesday announced that no public observation of festivals or mass gatherings will be permitted in the state during Onam, Muharram, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chathurthi and Durga Pooja as they could turn into super spreaders events, causing surge in Covid-19 cases. The order will come into effect from August 12.
As per the order issued by Chief Secretary V P Joy, the decision was taken by Kerala’s Disaster Management Department in view of an alert issued by the Centre to all states about the possibility of mass gatherings during upcoming festivals turning into super spreaders of Covid-19 leading to a spike in infections.
“In view of the central government advice, the Kerala government has decided that no public observation of festivals or mass gatherings will be permitted during the above mentioned festivals in the State," the order said.
Here are the new guidelines issued by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government:
- From August 12 onwards, special intensified stringent lockdown restrictions will be enforced in the Panchayats or urban wards where the infection spread is critical and the Weekly Infection Population Ratio (WIPR) is above 8.
- For Sabarimala pilgrimage and ‘darshan’ from August 15, a maximum of 15,000 devotees per day would be permitted and virtual queue registration will continue for crowd management. Those people who have not yet received a single dose of vaccine or do not have a negative RT-PCR test not older than 72 hours or have not been infected by Covid-19 in the past one month can undertake certain essential activities.
- Those who are yet to receive Covid-19 vaccination or cannot take the vaccine due to drug allergy or other ailments, can move out of their houses for essential activities like purchase of food items, including grocery, milk, meat, fish etc., if there are no other persons in the household who have been vaccinated or have a negative RT-PCR report.
- If such persons are required to visit shops they shall be given priority service by the traders and merchants and local self government institutions shall give special attention to them and ensure home delivery of essential items to them, the order said.
Moreover, the state government has also made a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test report mandatory for those queuing up at liquor shops. People who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will now have to show their vaccine certificates at the liquor shop, the order said.
Meanwhile, Kerala on Tuesday reported 21,119 new Covid-19 cases pushing the total infection caseload to 35,86,693, with the test positivity rate in the state rising close to 16 per cent. The number of people who succumbed to the virus rose to 18,004 with 152 more deaths.