Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said the covid-19 restrictions on Saturday and Sunday will be similar to a full lockdown and urged people not to venture out of the homes until absolutely necessary.
“We are going through a very crucial time. People should not venture out of their homes unless it is absolutely necessary. Only essential services will function on Saturday and Sunday. Let us spend this weekend with our families," he said in a tweet.
In a government order issued on April 21, the government said it would be a holiday for all government offices, banks and public sector undertakings on April 24. It had said only essential services and emergency activities would be allowed on Saturday and Sunday.
The CM also said weddings can take place in the halls with a maximum cap of 75 attendees and 150 people will be allowed in outdoor events. In view of the rising number of cases, he advised organisers to have a lesser number of attendees allowed by the administration.
While the state has said long-distance trains services would not be affected and public and goods transport would be permitted, the Chief Minister advised avoiding long-distance travel. Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to provide home delivery services.
The state government had said the higher secondary exams will happen as per schedule.
In the high level meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the covid-19 situation across the country, Vijayan raised the issue of financial constraints faced by state governments, and suggested vaccines to be made available to states by the Centre. “If we have to buy vaccine from the market for Rs 400. we will have to spend around Rs 1300 crore. This will be a burden on the state finances," he said.
States are already facing financial difficulties due to low revenue generation and high expenditure on health facilities during the pandemic.
Kerala recorded a spike in fresh COVID-19 infections adding 28,447 cases on Friday, the highest single-day surge so far, pushing the caseload to 13,50,501, the state government said. A total of 1.78 lakh people are presently undergoing treatment for the infection, while 5,663 have been cured of the infection, taking the total recoveries to 11,66,135.
Chief Minister Vijayan told reporters here that the toll has mounted to 5,055 with 27 additional deaths. The state has been witnessing a steep surge in cases with 26,995 cases being reported on Thursday, 22,414 cases on Wednesday and 19,577 on Tuesday.