COVID-19 lockdown in Kerala: The state government of Kerala has constituted a special task force of experts which has recommended a gradual phase-by-phase easing of the COVID-19 lockdown after April 14, 2020. The task force also suggests to keep a constant eye on the number of new Corona positive cases in the state, while relaxing the lockdown. According to an IE report, the task force comprises 17 members and is headed by KM Abraham, Former Chief Secretary of the state. The team recently submitted a report to Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, based upon which the state government may formulate its response to the Central government, on the matters of how and when the lockdown should be lifted.
A member of the special task force stated that the committee had brain stormed collectively and had suggested a slew of measures which will ensure the continuation of social distancing in public spaces after the nationwide lockdown is lifted on April 14, 2020. The COVID-19 hotspots in the state such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragod and Kannur will be under tight vigil as far as public movement is concerned. But, the other districts which have reported a decline in the number of positive cases can relax the lockdown restrictions in a proper four-phased manner.
Sources quoted in the report said that in the first phase, only the buses will be allowed to run, locally. In the second phase, the inter-district movement of the buses will be allowed. In the third phase, the buses from outside the state can be allowed to enter. Finally, in the last phase, the movement of Indian Railways trains and international flights can be allowed. Each of these four phases will last for a period of 15 days, and will end in the month of July 2020. Presently, Kerala has a total of seven hotspot districts.
Meanwhile, people who wish to return to Kerala have been booking tickets on a huge scale, in the hope that the movement of buses and trains will be relaxed after April 14, 2020. The seats on the major trains as well as buses have been filling up fast, the report said. The Bengaluru-Kanyakumari ‘Island’ Express, which is a popular overnight train service between Kerala and Bengaluru, a waiting list exists in all classes between April 15, 2020 – April 19, 2020. The ticket rush for the sleeper class in trains is found to be the highest, with the waiting list status being at 247/57 for April 15, 2020. On the very same day, train number 12777 between Yeshwantpur and Kochuveli and train number 16315 Bengaluru-Kochuveli also have waiting list tickets for all the classes.