The Kerala Police Tuesday issued stern instructions for the public on the first day of the state-wide lockdown imposed till March 31 to stall the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, asking those traveling in private vehicles to show a written declaration explaining why they are on the street.
State police chief Loknath Behera told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that people must not step out of their homes unless absolutely necessary. If they are found outside violating the lockdown without a valid reason, strict action will be taken.
In addition, those stepping out in their private vehicles must show a written declaration to the police explaining why they are on the street. The format of the declaration has been publicised on the website of the state police and its official Facebook account. People can either take a print of the form or make a declaration on a piece of white paper. Upon inspection by an officer, they must show the declaration. If it’s found to be invalid, action will be taken.
The format requires people to state their name, co-passenger (if any) in the vehicle, address, cell-phone number, vehicle number along with the reason they are out on the street.
In addition, the district police chiefs will issue passes to all those who have been kept out of the lockdown as their services are essential during this period. They include doctors, nurses, data centre operators, telecom employees, staff of private firms producing medical equipment, milk, newspaper and cooking gas distributors, owners of chemist and grocery shops and gas station employees. Journalists and government employees can show their identification cards.
The police instructions come on a day when major cities like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram witnessed several people out on the streets breaking the clampdown. At several places, the police had to resort to drive them away.
As per government instructions, shops selling essential items can remain open between 7 am and 5 pm. Restaurants cannot hold dine-in services, but can deliver food to homes.
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