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Police granted powers to enforce Covid discipline in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Police will strictly enforce public compliance with Covid-19 precautions, monitor containment zones and support contact tracing of individuals   -  The Hindu

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan points to “inexcusable laxity in containment strategy, public compliance”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday gave a dressing down to his own administration and the public at large for the “sloth creeping into the long-drawn campaign against the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of diligence”, causing the State to forfeit its early advantage gained from a time-tested containment strategy and disease management system.

The State is paying dearly for this unpardonable laxity as reflected in the number of new daily virus infections crossing the 1,000-mark as also the rising death toll. Speaking to reporters after the daily Covid-19 review meeting and analysis, he went on to announce sweeping changes in the containment strategy on ground with the police being granted sweeping powers.

Circular from Police Chief

This was followed by a detailed circular from the State Police Chief (Director-General), listing a series of directions to the lower ranks, saying that in the wake of the increasing number of positive cases primarily due to contact, it has been decided that the police will play an important role in bringing down the number of cases in the whole State.

Quarantine would be stringently enforced. District Police Chiefs shall enforce the directions and they shall be responsible and held accountable. The number of positive cases has to be brought down in this manner during this week itself. A review in this regard will be done on Monday next (August 10). Any laxity here will be viewed seriously, it said.

The directions say that the police will be involved for tracing contact cases and for earmarking the containment areas in the district. For this purpose, a team of officers in each police station, preferably led by a sub-inspector, shall be engaged round the clock.

Contact tracing strategy

For contact tracing, physical as well as technical methods shall be used. Once the containment zone is declared, the police will strictly enforce all the lockdown norms in that containment area. Home delivery of essential items shall be ensured. In the containment areas, motorcycle patrol should be arranged and mobile applications used to visit people under quarantine.

Social distancing and other Covid safety protocols shall be enforced strictly in containment areas/zones. In other areas of the district which are not containment zones, social distancing measures have to be enforced very strictly. Barricades should be put at important locations for checking the vehicles.

Under no circumstance shall crowd be permitted at any place. Vulnerable areas like harbours, bus stands, vegetable markets, fish markets, near hospitals, funeral houses, and wedding houses are places where special attention shall be given for enforcing social distancing; so also in big shops/stores and other places in the district where crowding normally takes place.

Quarantine enforcement

In each district, the Command and Control Centre should record the contact tracings and quarantine checks. Covid control quarantine should be strictly enforced. Motorcycle patrols shall be used by all District Police Chiefs. Police personnel entering containment zones and vulnerable areas must wear face shields.

In high-risk areas like airports, railway stations, bus stands and near hospitals, police officials shall use PPE kits and in such areas only young and healthy police officials shall be deployed. Police stations shall be responsible for proper quarantine of persons in their respective jurisdictions. The Station House Officer shall make all arrangements in this regard.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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