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Coronavirus lockdown: Kerala shifts gear to kickstart economy

Bus travel for short distance within a city or town may be permitted, but passengers will have to maintain social distancing, wear face masks and use sanitisers

twitter-logo PB Jayakumar        Last Updated: April 17, 2020  | 12:50 IST
Coronavirus lockdown: Kerala shifts gear to kickstart economy
The state has come up with detailed guidelines to be implemented from April 24

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Detailed guidelines and SoPs issued to open shops and establishments
  • High risk hotspot districts to be treated as one zone and full lockdown to continue
  • To kickstart consumption with partial opening of shops and establishments by 24 April.
  • Offers gold loans at 3 percent interest rate to its 2.1 million expatriates

Kerala, which has become a role model on coronavirus containment, is all set to revive its economy while the country enters the second phase of national lockdown.

The state has come up with detailed guidelines to be implemented from April 24. The guidelines focus on containment zones, safe people movement, re-opening of big manufacturing industries, restaurants, small shops.

The state government is keen to kickstart consumption. It will offer gold loans at 3 percent interest rate to its 2.1 million expatriates through the Kerala Bank -  a grouping of co-operative banks.

Earlier, the state had declared a Rs 20,000 crore stimulus plan, which included advance pensions and other social welfare measures. Community kitchens were also opened across the state, mainly to feed one million plus stranded migrant workers from North India.

The state will continue to ban all modes of mass public transport, inter-district and inter-state movement of individuals, opening of educational and religious institutions, malls, cinema halls and other places of social congregations till May 3. The state will be divided into four zones to relax lockdown measures depending on gravity of the virus spread in various areas.

"Four districts - Kasargod, Malappuram, Kannur and Kozhikode which are having the largest number of Covid-19 patients will be grouped into one zone and very high degree of vigil and lockdown will continue," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a press conference yesterday. Kerala has six hot-spot districts which will see strict restrictions. Other districts will see more relaxations for business activity. Villages with higher number of positive cases will be contained with entry-exit points.

Bus travel for short distance within a city or town may be permitted, but passengers will have to maintain social distancing, wear face masks and use sanitisers.

Industries operating in local areas, essential goods and IT manufacturers will be allowed. Partial restart of construction activities, including infrastructure projects, has been permitted. Manufacturing companies have to employ shifts with not more than 50 percent of workforce. They must maintain strict social distancing standard operating procedures (SoP)s enforced by the state.  

All agricultural, horticultural and animal husbandry activities will be fully functional, including interstate movement of poultry, fruits and vegetables and processed agriculture produce. While operations of the fishing and related activities will revive, plantations and its processing industries will be allowed to work with half the workforce. Restaurants, mobile shops and barber shops will be allowed to open on specific days and with time restrictions. 

INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic

Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: Delhi second worst-affected after Maharashtra with 1,640 cases; India's tally-13,387

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown: Construction activities allowed in rural areas

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