Referring to the Union government's order on relaxations, the CM said that shops in non-hotspot areas will be allowed to function.

Burning govt order on salary cut is a poor reaction Kerala CM
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, April 25, 2020 - 19:44

His eyes on the piece of paper from which he was reading, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sounded emotional as he narrated the story of a schoolboy who has started a project to collect money from students for the CM’s Disaster Relief Fund. Pinarayi began to talk of the many others who brought forth their savings to help the state during its COVID-19 fight, be it the elderly ready to give up their pension for a whole year, or the hospital residents who gave up their special meals to contribute that money. A woman in Kollam sold her goat and sent the money, another famously stopped a police vehicle to contribute her savings.

It was when so many inspiring stories were unfolding in the state every day, the CM said, that a small section of the people decided to burn a government order stating that six days of salary of government employees shall be cut for the next five months.

“The government is going through a financial crisis and it is in that situation that a salary cut for six days in a month has been declared. Burning the order has been a poor reaction to it. One should remember the number of people suffering through this pandemic, without a job or income,” Pinarayi said in the Saturday evening press meet for COVID-19 updates.

Seven new cases have been reported in the state, while seven others have recovered. There are now 116 people under treatment in the state, while 338 have recovered. Wayanad, Thrissur and Alappuzha districts have no active cases.

The state has tested 22,360 samples so far, out of which 21,475 were negative.

In a video conference between the Union cabinet secretary and state chief secretaries, Kerala was especially appreciated for the preparatory works done in anticipation of the non-resident Malayalis who would return after the lockdown, the CM said.

Shops can open except in hotspots

Referring to the April 24 Union government order on relaxations in opening shops with 50% employees, Pinarayi said that this will be permitted in non-hotspot areas of the state. All shops under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960, will be allowed to function in these areas, and the staff shall be expected to take all the precautions. Multi and single brand malls shall however not be allowed to function.

Hospitals, including private ones, have also started their regular treatments and the surgeries that were earlier scheduled can be performed, the CM said. Ayur Raksha clinics have also started.

Borders shall be strictly manned and one should only go through the official entry and exit points. Tamil Nadu is tightening the lockdown for three cities for four days from Sunday to Tuesday, and two other cities for three days. Police checking at the borders shall be stricter, the CM said.

Testing for COVID-19 shall be done on patients of the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Cancer Centre before surgeries are done, he said.

There is also a new project called Prasanthi that will be run by the police to pay heed to the elderly staying alone in the state.

Pinarayi also warned against serious violations of the lockdown, with  some people seen taking part in group baths at public ponds or group fishing.

On media jobs

CM Pinarayi observed that media jobs appear to be at risk with a lack of ads and the number of pages of print media being reduced. There is also the risk of the disease for those working in the field and closely with health workers, he pointed out. The government will do the required inspections in these cases, the CM said, and asked media firms not to dismiss their employees or refuse them salaries at this time. 

Also read: Why Kannur's rising COVID-19 cases hasn't led to increase in number quarantined

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