KOCHI: Even as states such as Maharashtra and Bengal, along with Odisha and Punjab, decided to extend the 21-day lockdown till April 30, the Kerala government is of the view that lockdown restrictions should be restricted to hotspots and that each state be allowed to take a decision in this regard.
In the video conference of all CMs with prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan advocated a phased removal of lockdown restrictions. He said that the pandemic could spread further if there was unrestricted public movement and could lead to a serious situation in a densely populated state like Kerala. The state wants all restrictions in place in districts identified as hotspots to continue till April 30, but in other districts those activities permitted by the government should be allowed by ensuring social distancing.
On the situation in the state, the chief minister informed the Prime Minister that there were around 3,85,000 guest labourers who wanted to return to their respective states. The Centre should provide transport facilities to take them to their native states after April 14 and non-stop trains should be provided to them.
They should also be provided financial assistance for the next three months, Vijayan told the meeting.
The state on Saturday reported 10 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total number of cases reported so far to 373. Three of those who tested positive for the virus on Saturday had travelled to foreign countries while seven got the virus through contact. Seven of these cases are in Kannur, two in Kasaragod and one in Kozhikode. As many as 228 Covid-19 patients are under treatment in the state while 1,23,491 persons are under observation.
Vijayan told reporters that 19 persons have tested negative for the virus on Saturday, nine in Kasaragod, four in Kasaragod, three in Thiruvananthapuram, two in Idukki and one in Thrissur. However, he warned against any complacency and said strict action would be taken against those breaking the lockdown rules. He also said there was no scientific backing to the practice of setting up disinfection tunnels and district collectors have been given instructions in this regard.