The Kerala government on Wednesday has ordered a temporary closure of its state-run liquor corporation amid 21-day lock-down due to the novel coronavirus, as per media reports.

Kerala has taken the decision as people flocked around liquor outlets even after the government advised to stay indoors as a precautionary measure against the deadly virus. The State government fears that continuous crowding outside liquor shops may spread the infection.

Meanwhile, Kerala has registered the second-highest number of cases of coronavirus after Maharashtra, which now stands at 112, of whom four have recovered.

Kerala had earlier announced a lock-down on Monday, while Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government refused to shut liquor shops, maintaining that the decision would lead to illicit trading of the liquor in the State and have “social repercussions”. The government has now shut down more than 300 outlets of the state-run Kerala State Beverages Corporation.

According to The Hindu report, state police and the excise department had informed the government that even when people are maintaining a meter’s distance from each other while buying alcohol, they still pose a public health risk.

Trade unions had also told the government that the staff at the liquor stores were worried about contracting the infection from customers.

Managing Director of Kerala State Beverages Corporation Sparjan Kumar cited in The Indian Express report, said that the decision to resume liquor business in Kerala will be thought upon after the 21-day lock-down. He also told that he had not received any instructions from the government about the online sale of liquor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lock-down on Tuesday in the wake of the novel coronavirus in the country. So far, India has recorded 649 cases of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, essential services including grocery shops, dairies, hospitals, nursing homes, police, fire stations, and ATMs will remain open, the Ministry of Home Affairs held.