Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 4 (IANS) Even as almost 50 per cent of the country's total daily new Covid cases is registered in Kerala, the Pinarayi Vijayan government on Wednesday decided to ease the Covid norms.
The easing of the norms was on the cards as the traders' body was up in arms, and with the Onam season round the corner, it was the only way these traders could get the business started again.
Announcing the revised lockdown norms, journalist turned State Minister of Health Veena George said the method of locking down was based on the test positivity rate depending on the percentage of Covid patients per 100 population, this however will now be based on cases per 1,000 population.
"Henceforth all shops in areas, where triple lockdown norms are not there, can open from 7 in the morning till 9 p.m. From now on only Sunday will be locked down, while Saturday will function as a normal day," said George.
For the past nearly three months Kerala was under lockdown based on the test positivity rate and all local bodies with a TPR above 15 per cent were closed down.
Incidentally, these new guidelines have come at a time when on Tuesday there were 42,625 new Covid cases in the country of which Kerala reported 23,676 cases.
Of 4,10,353 active cases, Kerala had 1,73,221 active cases.
George said that the reason for opening up was the economic situation in the state.
"Kerala started facing the second wave of Covid and with 56 per cent of the state's population still free from Covid, it's natural we will be reporting more number of daily cases. But when it comes to the death rate Kerala has done well with the death rate standing at 0.5 per cent while the national average is 1.34," said George.
She added that one way to tackle Covid is through vaccinating all and Kerala has done well in that aspect also and is waiting for more vaccine supplies.
"So far 1.48 crore people have got their first jab, while 62 lakh have received both the doses. And if one looks into the rate of vaccination Kerala has a higher figure than the national average," added George.