Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday (July 23) announced further tightening of restrictions in the State with an increase in the Covid Test Positivity Rate (TPR) in the last few days. The average test positivity rate for the last three days is 12.1 per cent. The TPR is above 10 per cent in 11 districts and Malappuram district has the highest of 17 per cent.
“In the context of the Covid spread, Central and State Government Offices, Public Offices, Public Sector Undertakings, Companies, Commissions, and Corporation offices in Category A and B local bodies can function with upto 50 per cent staff and upto 25 per cent in Category C areas,” Vijayan said.
Only essential services will operate in Category D areas where the TPR rate is above 15 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent staff in A & B categories and 75 per cent in C should be involved in COVID mitigation activities, he said. “District collectors should take the initiative to give them the responsibility for the work.Since only essential services operate in the D category, the vast majority of employees will be part of the preventive measures.”
“Areas with a high prevalence of the disease are considered clusters.At the same time, a micro-containment system will be introduced,” the chief minister told the media after the daily COVID-19 evaluation meet.
He said Kerala has already been assessed nationally as an effective vaccination state and is at the forefront of the zero waste stage and higher dose vaccination.
“At least 60 per cent of the population in the community needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to the disease. A third wave is unlikely to occur if herd immunity is achieved to the required level by strictly following the Covid protocol.The third wave will not occur naturally.It is caused by the flaws in Covid control and failures in vaccine supply,” he said.
Vijayan said at this stage, the state government was trying to give at least one dose of vaccine to people as soon as possible and asked them to avoid crowds where there is a risk of rapid spread due to the presence of the delta variant of the virus. On Friday, the state reported 17,518 new COVID-19 cases with a TPR of 13.63 per cent. Vijayan said 1,77,09,529 people have been vaccinated and of these, 1,24,64,589 received a single dose and 52,44,940 have received both doses.
“People who do not have access to smartphones and computers are vaccinated by registering with the help of ASHA activists.So far, about 40,000 pregnant women in the state have been vaccinated,” he said. The Health Department has launched a campaign to vaccinate all pregnant women.