With an increase in people contracting COVID-19 through local transmission in Ernakulam district in Kerala, authorities have tightened preventive measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the move, six markets in Kochi and it's suburbs were shut over the past two days. The district administration has also changed the timings of essential shops in containment zones.
Fishing markets at Fort Kochi, Pezhakkappilly near Muvattupuzha and Kalamukku near Vypin were ordered to be shut on Thursday evening. On Wednesday, Aluva market, Champakara fish market and Varapuzha fish market were also shut after being declared as containment zones.
The move came after people associated with markets in the district tested positive for the coronavirus. Two relatives of a worker in Aluva market, who was found to have COVID-19, also tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
According to Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar, who is in charge of COVID-19 containment activities in Ernakulam district, the markets were shut as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the disease.
The Ernakulam market and Chellanam fishing harbour in the district, which were earlier shut after people associated with the region contracted COVID-19, remain closed after being declared as containment zones.
"Though there is an increase in people contracting the disease through local transmission, there are only a few cases whose source of infection is not known. We can surely say that there is no community transmission in Kochi," Sunil Kumar told the media on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, to bring in more stringency, timings for the working of essential shops in containment zones have been reduced from 8 am to 1pm, compared to the earlier norm of 11 am to 5 pm, in the district.
Supermarkets in containment zones in Kochi can only function for home delivery services.
Of the containment zones in seven local bodies in Ernakulam district, most COVID-19 cases have been reported from Chellanam gram panchayat and Aluva. Chellanam panchayat has been fully marked as a containment zone, while 15 wards of Aluva municipality are also marked the same.
A total of 213 people are presently under treatment for COVID-19 in the district.