Thiruvananthapuram: As India sees an increasing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases every day, the state of Kerala has now decided to put in place regulations that will last till July 2021.
With COVID-19 cases gradually increasing in Kerala, and with many patients’ sources of infection remaining unknown, the state government has issued new guidelines to act as preventive measures against the pandemic. The new regulations known as ‘Kerala Epidemic Disease Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Additional Regulations, 2020’, will be in force for a year, or till further government direction.
“There is an increase in reports of COVID-19 cases and in some cases the source is not identified. Hence the government has taken the decision to strengthen certain preventive/ precautionary measures to be observed by the public in their normal life. Hence the government has decided to notify certain additional regulations,” the order dated July 2 said.
The precautionary measures laid out are:
- Physical distancing: All persons in public places should maintain six feet distance between each other.
- Mask/ Face cover: All persons should cover their nose and mouth with mask or face cover in public places, workplace and in vehicles.
- Social gathering: No manner of social gathering, including get-togethers, processions, dharna, congregation or demonstration, without prior permission. The maximum participants for permitted social gathering will not exceed more than 10 persons. Physical distancing, use of gears like masks and sanitisers are mandatory.
- Weddings: In marriage ceremonies and in functions thereafter, at a time there should be no more than 50 people. Everyone should use masks, sanitisers and abide by physical distancing norms mandatorily. The organisers of the event should supply sanitisers for the people.
- Funerals: Maximum participants at a time should not exceed more than 20 people. In case the person who died is suspected to have COVID-19, the special protocol of the government has to be followed.
- As per the Centre’s instructions, funerals of people suspected to have COVID-19, should follow the same protocols are confirmed COVID-19 victims.
- Shops: In shops and other commercial establishments, the number of people at a time should not exceed 20 persons. Physical distancing should be followed inside shops as in any other public places. Sanitisers should be provided by shop owners.
- Spitting in public places, roads or footpaths, is prohibited.
- Interstate transport: Though Kerala has revised its policy for people coming from outside the state by stating that there is no need to secure travel passes, people still have to register through the COVID-19 Jagratha portal. This is to help the government with contact tracing and other pandemic combating measures. The regular operation of interstate carriages by both private and public sectors, to and from Kerala will remain suspended.
Meanwhile, the state government has also brought amendments to the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020, by adding provisions to compound offences if required.
The amended ordinance which has been termed Kerala Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 is aimed to extend legal support to accused. As per the newly inserted section 7A of the ordinance, “offences punishable..may be compounded on the application of the accused either before institution of prosecution or with permission of the court...”
It further adds that when an offence has been compounded, “no further proceedings shall be continued against the offender...and offender if in custody and vehicle if any seized shall be released.”
After the imposition of lockdown, hundreds were nabbed and vehicles were confiscated by police for violating lockdown regulations.