Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Thursday imposed fresh restrictions in the state as a preventive measure to contain the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
A high-level COVID review meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan virtually from the United States, decided that only essential services should be allowed on the next two Sundays --January 23 and 30.
The meeting also decided to allow working women with children below the age of two, cancer patients and seriously ill persons to work through the work from home system.
It directed institutions including businesses, malls, beaches, and other tourist places like theme parks, to ensure no gatherings take place and operate strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
Restrictions will be imposed at the district level on the basis of the number of people admitted to hospitals, the government said and authorised the Disaster Management Authority to divide the districts into three groups, A, B and C.
In the districts that fall under the A category, all social, cultural, religious, political and public events and weddings and funerals can be attended by up to 50 people.
No such gatherings will be allowed in the B and C category districts. In such areas, religious worship should be conducted online only and a maximum of 20 people will be allowed for weddings and funerals.
Movie theatres, swimming pools and gyms are not allowed to function in C category districts.
All classes (including tuition centres) -- except undergraduate and postgraduate level final year classes besides 10 and 12 classes-- are allowed online only in C category districts. However, residential educational institutions are allowed to operate on a bio-bubble model.
The decision comes in wake of rising cases of infection in the state, which logged 46,387 fresh COVID-19 cases today, the highest ever single-day spike in the infections.
Confirming that Kerala is witnessing the third wave of COVID-19, Kerala Health Minister Veena George has cautioned people against the "super-spread" of the pandemic and said both Delta and Omicron variants of the virus are contributing to the ongoing unprecedented surge in daily cases.