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No Saturday shutdowns: Kerala revises lockdown strategy, extends shop timings

No lockdown on two Sundays—August 15, 22; here are the key announcements

Virus Outbreak India People at a market in Kochi, Kerala | AP

Amid rising opposition to its lockdown strategy, the Kerala government has partially amended the existing COVID protocols allowing shops to function on all days of the week, except Sundays, from 7 am to 9 pm. In view of the existing lockdown strategy that was hurting businesses and livelihoods, the state government has decided to adopt a microcluster approach to impose controls.

The new strategy involves dividing Kerala's population into clusters of 1000 each. If 10 or more fresh cases are reported from a particular cluster, triple lockdown would be imposed in the area, announced health minister Veena George in the assembly on Wednesday. However, the 'test positivity rate'-based strategy will continue though it is yet to be clear how it would be incorporated into the revised approach.

Here are the key announcements made by the state government on Wednesday: 

•Shop timings: Shops, except in clusters where triple lockdown is in force, can open on six days. Their working hours have also been extended; they can now function from 7 a.m to 9 p. m.

•Social distancing: Onus is on shops to ensure social distancing. Crowding should be avoided at all costs. There should be a 25 sq ft distance between customers in a shop. Also, advisable if the shops were visited only by those who had taken at least one vaccination dose or those who had tested negative in the last 72 hours or those who had recovered from COVID.

•Weekend lockdown: There will be no shutdown on Saturdays. However, considering Independence Day and Onam, there will be no shutdown on two Sundays, August 15 and August 22.

•Places of worship: The ban on social, political and religious gatherings will continue. Not more than 40 people will be allowed in even places of worship with large spaces. In others, the number of devotees will have to be kept proportionately low.

•Upper limit for functions: The maximum people allowed for marriages and funerals will remain 20.

(With inputs from Onmanorama)


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