After months of weekend lockdowns, the Kerala government is now reducing COVID-19 restrictions so that the state will be completely shut down only on Sundays. A report on Mathrubhumi says that a complete lockdown which has been enforced for both days of the weekend for months will not be enforced on Saturdays from the next week. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday during the state Assembly session, along with the new set of relaxations and restrictions. The revised COVID-19 protocol will also change the existing categorisation of areas based on their Test Positivity Rate (TPR). Instead, the number of patients in an area will be considered to decide on which category it will fall into. More restrictions will be placed on categories with a higher number of COVID-19 patients, than a higher TPR.
The decisions were taken in a COVID-19 review meeting on Tuesday. It is also reported that there shall be no lockdown on Independence Day (August 15) or Onam day (August 21). The number of hours that shops and other businesses shall be allowed to remain open will also be extended, it is learnt. Traders and workers in the state have been protesting against the complete lockdowns and other restrictions which has affected their livelihood badly. But the government said that it could not ease restrictions at a time when the state has been continuously recording a high number of positive cases.
On Tuesday, another 23,676 people tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total number of active cases to 1,73,221. Last week, the state had reported more than 20,000 cases every day for six consecutive days. However, it has also been testing between 1.5 lakh and 2 lakh people every day. On Tuesday alone, 1,99,456 samples were tested. There were also 148 deaths due to COVID-19 reported on Tuesday. In one and a half years of the pandemic outbreak, there have so far been 17,103 deaths due to COVID-19 in Kerala.