Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at the weekly meeting of the high-powered committee which decides on COVID-19 lockdown measures, on Tuesday, decided not to relax the present norms, after the state government was pulled up by the Supreme Court earlier in the day. Any further action has been deferred to the next meeting. The state government had, last week, announced that on account of Bakrid, lockdown norms would be relaxed in the state from July 18-20. This decision invited strong words from the apex court. Speaking in the review meeting, CM said that the present restrictions will continue without change for a week.
The test positivity rate (TPR) of Kerala now stands at 10.8%. â€śTPR is increasing in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts. District authorities should take measures to control this effectively. The local bodies and health departments along with people should jointly work for this,â€ť the CM said in a statement, following the review meeting.
The Chief Minister's statement came hours after the Supreme Court termed the Left government's relaxation of lockdown restrictions in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rate, ahead of Bakrid festival, as "wholly uncalled for". The SC 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.
Criticising the government, BJP state president K Surendran said that the Supreme Courtâ€™s words were a setback for the state government's "unscientific COVID defence." "This is a slap in the face of the Pinarayi Vijayan government," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the trader groups in the state have expressed unhappiness after the Supreme Court pulled up the state government. The state had said that relaxations were announced considering the demands of the traders.
T Nasirudhin, a traders group leader, told the media in Kozhikode that they will seek to implead themselves in the case, as they were not heard even as they have been the most affected.