Coronavirus impact: Kerala bans all religious festivities, plans lockdown1 min read . Updated: 22 Mar 2020, 02:34 PM IST
- The state has seen a surge in cases of Covid-19, now at 52, with over 50,000 under observation
- The order allows forceful isolation of suspected patients and locking down a neighbourhood if required
Ernakulam: The Kerala government on Sunday banned religious festivals, sports tournaments, other mass gatherings in places such as malls, parks and beaches, while planning a state lockdown.
The order follows a religious procession of hundreds of people in the capital Thiruvananthapuram district on Saturday. It resulted in the district administration arresting 28 people, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
The state has seen a surge in cases of Covid-19, now at 52, with over 50,000 under observation.
The ban is effective Sunday and is aimed at preventing more such instances, an officer aware of the discussions told Mint, requesting anonymity. The order provides district administrators, health officials and the police more power to take preventive actions against the spread, including forceful isolation of suspected patients and locking down a neighbourhood if required.
The order said, "to maintain public health and order the Government of Kerala issues the following regulations: All religious and cultural festivals, tournaments, group competitions and mass gathering of people at public places, parks, beaches, theaters, malls etc are prohibited."
"District Magistrates are authorized to invoke provisions of Section 144 Cr.P.C, as and when required to prevent spread of epidemic under intimation to Additional Chief Secretary (Home). All healthcare institutions in private sector including hospitals and medical colleges shall provide information on the availability of total beds, hospital rooms, hostel rooms, corona testing equipments, ICU beds, ventilators and any other relevant data on COVID-19," it added.
"Hoarding of essential commodities will be dealt with severely as per existing laws in force. Collectors & District Magistrates and the District Police Chiefs are hereby empowered under section 2 of The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to enforce this order. Any person who disobeys any part of this order shall be deemed to have committed an offence under section 1BB of Indian penal Code," it said.