The boundaries of four major districts in Kerala, which report the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, were sealed and restrictions were further intensified on Monday as a seven-day triple lockdown announced by the state government came into force there from midnight.
Majority of sub-roads were closed and police took control of the major roads in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts as part of efforts to arrest the massive spread of the virus infection.
Only essential services people and those travelling for meeting emergency needs were allowed to move out in all the four districts.
Borders were under the strict surveillance of police who could be seen returning many people while trying to travel without any valid reason in many places.
They also warned of stern legal action and seizure of vehicles againstthose violating triple lockdown norms.
In the state capital, police cut down the number of entry points to the city to just six to force people to stay safe at homes and make them avoid unnecessary travels.
Despite strict instructions, the closing of roads, however, seemed to have caused long queues of vehicles in many places waiting for the police permission to proceed further.
Thiruvananthapuram city police Commissioner, Balram Kumar Upadhyay, said 100 bike patrolling teams have been deployed here to check quarantine violations.
The public could seek the support of getting essential articles like medicine in emergency situations, he added.
Meanwhile, the district authorities have issued specific guidelines for each district under the triple lockdown.
As per the norms issued by the Thiruvananthapuram district administration, shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, animal fodder, poultry and cattle feed, bakeries were opened Monday.
They would be openon alternate days starting from Monday onwards and all shops would close, including for home delivery purposes by 2 PM.
Banks, insurance and financial services will function with minimal staff on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 1 PM.
Cooperative Banks will remain open only on Monday and Thursday from 10 AM to 1 PM.
According to the guidelines, milk and newspaper distribution shall be completed before 8 AM.
Fair price shops (Ration/PDS/Maveli /Supplyco shops) and milk booths are permitted to function on all days till 5 PM while restaurants and hotels will be allowed to function from 7 AM to 7.30 PM with home delivery services only.
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No dine-in and take-away/parcels shall be allowed in any restaurants or hotels, it said.
Medical shops, petrol pumps, ATMs, shops selling life- saving equipment, hospitals and other clinical establishments shall be functioning on all days.
Authorities have advised the public to buy provisions and vegetables from shops near their houses and not to travel long distances for the purchase of provisions and vegetables.
The public will be prevented from travelling long distances for purchase of essential commodities, they said.
Police have already informed that all houses with positive and primary contact family members would be sealed and no person from containment zones would be allowed to step out even if he or she belongs to the exempted category of work.
While Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts would be under triple lockdown till May 23, the current lockdown would continue in other 10 districts, authorities added.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.