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Kerala withdraws lockdown concessions after Centre’s objection

Kerala has withdrawn the concessions announced for the relaxation during the lockdown, after a letter from the Centre to all the chief secretaries of the state to stick to the guidelines it has issued.

Kerala government said this happened due to some communication gap. Earlier, the state government had defended its decision to relax the norms saying the Centre was informed about it.

The activities allowed by the state included the opening of local workshops, barber shops, restaurants, book stores, allowing bus travel in cities and towns for a shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of four-wheeler and pillion riding on scooters.

The Union home ministry had taken strong objection to the Kerala government’s decision, saying it amounts to dilution of its lockdown guidelines.

‘Such additional activities allowed by government of Kerala amount to dilution of guidelines issued by MHA and violation of MHA order dated 15 April 2020 issued under Disaster Management Act 2005. I would urge you to rectify the guidelines of the Government of Kerala in line with the consolidated revised guidelines without any dilution and ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures,’ the letter from Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.

Four districts in the state – north Kerala’s Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram – are in Covid-19 red zone with the most of the infections. Eight, including state capital Thiruvananthapuram, are in the orange zone with few cases and two are in the green zone with no cases.

There are 14 districts in the southern state.

State authorities had said the relaxations will be applicable to the orange and green zones only.

Kerala had on Sunday reported two new cases of the coronavirus disease, which took the number of infections in the state to 401.

Out of the 401, there are 270 people who have been discharged and 129 are in hospitals. There are 55,590 people under observation, down from almost 200,000 at one point

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