Kerala has decided to extend the lockdown by a week to May 23, based on a consensus decision arrived at a high-level meeting of officials belonging to the Revenue, the police and the State Disaster Management Authority, convened here on Friday by stand-in Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
A ‘triple lockdown’ will be clamped down from May 16 in the four districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Malappuram, where the test positivity ratio has not relented from the ‘unconscionably high levels’ (50 per cent in some areas) during the nearly week-long lockdown so far.
Vijayan told newspersons here that a series of social security and distress relief measures will be initiated by the government to help those badly affected by the lockdown.
These include extension of food kit supply into June and expedited distribution of monthly welfare pension. The ongoing lockdown is valid until May 16. Health experts and associated collectives such as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have already made a demand that it should be extended at any cost.
The number of daily new cases came down slightly to 34,694 in the State on Friday while recoveries at 31,319 kept with the emerging impressive trend in recent times. The test positivity rate for the State as a whole, too, improved slightly to 26.41 on Friday, while the 93 reported deaths took the cumulative toll to 6,243.