Kerala will be the first state in the country to allow district category wise relaxation in the country. The districts are divided into three categories. The red, orange and green.
The districts in the red zone – Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram –will not have any relaxations, the guidelines said, and hotspots in each of them will remain sealed and will have only two entry/exit points for supply of essential goods and services.
The government led by Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday released comprehensive guidelines to reopen Kerala in a staggered manner from Monday.
For other districts based on the zone classification, private vehicles will be allowed in the odd-even scheme within the districts. The scheme involves plying of vehicle numbers that end with even number on ply in a single day and odd on another day.
What demonstrated the confidence of the government in its capabilities, even restaurants will be allowed dine-in facilities till 7 pm and takeout till 8 pm.
Bus travel for short distances will also be allowed within districts. Strict social distancing norms will have to be followed for all these services, officials said.
In Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, and Kollam, districts under Orange A zone, partial relaxation from the lockdown will be given from April 24, while Orange B districts Alappuzha, Trivandrum, Palakkad, Wayanad, and Thrissur will get partial relaxation from Monday.
The state has impressively managed to flatten the curve as fresh daily cases have dropped to the single-digit level and the number of people getting discharged from hospitals greatly outnumbers new admissions. In the last 7 days, there have been just 32 new cases, while 129 COVID-19 patients have been discharged in the same time period.
The government has classified two districts, Kottayam and ldukki, in the green zone, that will greatly see restrictions being lifted from Monday.
Here’s a list of allowed activities for Orange Zone districts:Embed from Getty Images
- Movement of private vehicles with the odd-even scheme. Vehicles with odd numbers will be permitted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while vehicles with even numbers will be allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
- The exemption from the odd-even scheme would be only for critical services and emergency operations. Women traveling solo or with dependents are exempted from this restriction.
- Only two passengers besides the private vehicle driver can be permitted in the backseat in case of four-wheelers and only one person allowed on two-wheelers. A pillion rider is allowed if it’s a family member.
- Bus travel for short distances permitted subject to a strict discipline: no standing passengers, wearing masks compulsory and hand sanitizers should be provided to the passengers as they enter the buses. Total distance cannot more be than 50 to 60 km, limited to within the district.
- Barber shops (no cosmetics/beauty therapies) allowed to open on Saturday and Sunday but without AC. Only 2 people to wait at a time.
- Restaurants allowed to have dine-in services till 7 pm and takeout till 8 pm.
- All health services to remain functional.
- Authorized private establishments, which support the provisioning of essential services, or efforts for containment of COVID-19, including home care providers, diagnostics, and supply chain firms serving hospitals to remain functional.
- Pre-monsoon sanitation and preventive activities by Health department and local bodies allowed.
- All agricultural and horticultural activities including farming operations by farmers, ngencies engaged in the procurement, marketing and sale of agriculture/horticulture/horticulture products permitted.
- Operation of Anganwadis – distribution of food and nutritional items once in 15 days at the doorsteps of beneficiaries.
- MGNREGA and Ayyankali Employment Guarantee Scheme works to be allowed with strict implementation of social distancing and face masks. Priority to be given to irrigation and water conservation works. Not more than 5 unskilled laborers in a team.
- Operations of utilities in water, sanitation and waste management sectors including garbage collection by locaI bodies or agencies authorized by Government for that purpose.
- Construction works on the road, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs in rural areas will be allowed.
- No person with symptoms like fever, cough, shall be engaged to work. Heath check-up of migrant workers will be the responsibility of the contractor or employer.
For the districts in Green category, all activities, with following exceptions will be allowed after April 20
- No domestic and international air travel of passengers.
- No passenger movement by trains.
- Inter-district public transport of all kinds to remain banned.
- Metro rail services will remain closed.
- All educational, training, coaching institutions will remain closed.
- All cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, and auditoriums, assembly halls will remain shut.
- All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other gatherings are banned.
- All religious places shall be closed for the public. Religious congregations are strictly prohibited.
- In case of funerals and marriages, congregation of no more than twenty persons will be allowed.
Considering that the first cases of coronavirus positives patients were found in Kerala, the move shows that the Kerala government, disease surveillance and healthcare system is in control of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
The relaxations in lockdown will be closely watched throughout India. The results of this will act as a model to gradually bringing life to normalcy in other states of India.