Lockdown in Kerala from today, police to act tough on violators | Thiruvananthapuram News

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Around 25,000 police personnel will be deployed on roads from Saturday morning to impose the nine day lockdown in the state. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that police have prepared a detailed action plan for strict implementation of restrictions announced in view of the worsening Covid-19 situation.
He said it would take at least a week more to see a reduction in the number of cases even if the lockdown is strictly enforced. Warning against spreading of fake news regarding lockdown and Covid-19, he said the police hi-tech cell and Cyberdome had been asked to look into such matters and take action.
There is no need for a police pass for inter-district travel like last year’s lockdown and a pass format being circulated on social media is an old one, Vijayan said. However, inter-district travel should be minimised, and such travel can be undertaken in unavoidable circumstances by producing a self-certified affidavit, he said. People can go out for unavoidable reasons with a self-certified affidavit but there will be serious action if such travel is found unnecessary.
The chief minister said vehicle workshops can function during the weekend while banks, insurance and other financial services will be allowed on alternate days — Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Way-side eateries should not be operated while officials of banks or financial institutions should not visit houses for recovering instalments during this period.
Vijayan said police would publish the dos and don’ts during lockdown on their social media accounts. Highway police and fire and rescue service have prepared a joint plan for transport of life-saving drugs, for which IG (south zone) Harshitha Attalluri will be the nodal officer.
The government has, meanwhile, come up with some more clarifications on exemptions given during the lockdown. It has included transport, women and child development, dairy development and NORKA department employees among the exempted categories. Restaurants will be allowed to function from 7am to 7.30pm for home delivery or parcel services.
People queue up outside a grocery shop in Kochi without maintaining social distancing. On Friday, many shops were crowded as people rushed to stock up essentials before the lockdown despite the government’s assurance that there won’t be any shortage
The movement of bystanders to and from hospitals, advocates and clients to courts if a physical sitting has been notified and units involved in packing of essential food, medical items and items of export have also been exempted.
Police face a major challenge in enforcing the lockdown this time as the government has — taking a cue from last year’s national lockdown — given more exemptions so as to ensure that the economic activities are not affected.
It will be tough for police to ensure that those venturing out of houses during the lockdown are doing so for genuine reasons. A section of police officers said the rider of ‘minimum possible staff’ with which many departments had been allowed to function could lead to arguments on the road.

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