The Kerala government on Tuesday decided to ease restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 by lifting night curfew and lockdown on Sundays with immediate effect, and reopening higher educational institutions for final-year students from next month.
The state has been under pressure to ease restrictions even though test positivity rate (TPR) has been hovering above the 15-per cent mark — against less than 3 per cent at the national level — for more than two months.
Following a review meeting on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that there is no significant increase of cases in the current week, compared to last week’s figures. “The weekly increase in cases was only 0.6 per cent. In the fourth week of last month (August), the weekly TPR was 18.49 per cent, which has come down to 17.91 per cent,” he said. “Cases can be brought down further if vigil is maintained. Out of 2.38 lakh active cases, only 12.82 per cent (pf the affected people) are hospitalised,’’ he said.
He said that in the prevailing situation the state has decided to do away with night curfew and complete lockdown. From October 4, permission will be given to all colleges to open for teachers and final year students of degree and postgraduate courses, if they have taken at least one vaccine shot. Technical institutions can also open in this manner, and school teachers should complete vaccination this week, he said.
On Tuesday, the state reported 25,772 cases and 189 deaths due to Covid-19.
Vijayan also said that the state government fully agrees with the Kerala High Court’s directive to allow anyone who wants to schedule the second dose of Covishield four weeks after the first jab in terms of the original protocol for vaccination, to do so. It is up to the Centre to decide on that, he said.