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Kerala extends restrictions

The Kerala government has extended the ongoing Covid-induced lockdown in the state by another week as the average test positive rate was still above 10 per cent, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister’s statement comes hours after the Supreme Court termed as “wholly uncalled for” the Left government’s relaxation of lockdown restrictions in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rate, ahead of the Bakrid festival.

During the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet, Vijayan said the three-day easing of COVID restrictions in view of Bakrid being celebrated on July 21, will end on Tuesday. He also informed that three lakh additional COVID-19 tests will be conducted on Friday.

“There will be no relaxations in the curbs as of now. The current restrictions will continue for the next one more week. The average Test Positivity Rate of the last three days has increased to 10.8 per cent.

The TPR is high in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts. The district administrations should effectively interfere to control the TPR,” Vijayan said in a release.

The meeting directed the officials of the health department and the local self-government bodies to take steps to bring down the TPR.

The Apex Court on Tuesday directed the state government to “heed the Right to Life”, and warned Kerala of action if the easing of curbs leads to further spread of the virus and this is brought before it by any person.

Pressure groups of all kinds, religious or otherwise, cannot in any manner interfere with the most precious Fundamental Right to Life of all the citizens of the country, the apex court observed.

Chief Minister Vijayan had announced the concessions at a press conference on July 17.

In view of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) being celebrated on July 21, textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18-20 from 7 AM to 8 PM in category

A, B and C areas, he said.

In D category areas, these shops can function only on July 19, he had said. The areas have been categorised based on test positivity rates.

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