With daily cases in the Thiruvananthapuram district scraping 9,000 on January 23, Kerala government has decided to place the district in the C-Category where lockdown-like restrictions will be in place.
This is the first time a district has been included in the C-Category. The decision was taken at the COVID Review meeting held on Monday, which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presided over from the United States of America where he is on treatment.
It was at the last COVID review meeting on January 21 that Kerala was divided into three categories – A, B and C- based on the intensity of the virus spread. Category-C are areas where the spread is severe, where more than a quarter admissions into hospitals are COVID patients.
From January 25, no public, social, political or cultural events will be allowed in Thiruvananthapuram district. All areas of cultural and social activities like theatres, gyms and swimming pools should also remain shut till further orders.
There will be restrictions on educational institutions, too, and all classes except final year graduates, post graduated and Class 10th, Class 12th should be shifted online. The number that could attend a funeral or marriage will be limited to 20 in the C-Category; this restriction holds for Category-B districts also.
However, malls and liquor outlets will remain open. The last review meeting had advised mall authorities to avoid overcrowding and to ensure adequate social distancing.
Along with a rising TPR (test positivity rate) of over 50%, hospital beds are fast dwindling in Thiruvananthapuram. All the 25 ICU beds in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College have been filled. Another 25 have now been created. All the 226 COVID beds in the Medical College, too, have been filled.
Most of the districts in Kerala, eight of them, are placed in the B-Category. Kollam, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkad, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.
A district is placed in B-Category when more than 10 percent of patients admitted into the hospitals must be Covid-19 patients. Also the districts where the rate of patients admission into Covid-19 ICU wards doubles from that observed on January 1 will also be categorised into B category. Political, social, religious events are prohibited in such districts also till further notice. In these districts, too, the maximum attendance at marriages and funerals will be 20.
The remaining four districts are in the least affected zone: Category- A. In Category-A districts, cultural, political and social activities will be permitted subject to the condition that the maximum number of attendees will not exceed 50.
The review meeting has also authorised headmasters and principals to shut down schools if more than 40% of the students are COVD positive.