Scores of people come outdoors armed with affidavits citing reasons for travel
The State police scrambled on Saturday to enforce the State government’s stay-at-home orders.
The government had asked people to stay indoors on the weekend (April 24 and 25) and venture out only to buy emergency supplies from neighbourhood shops in view of the surging COVID-19 cases.
Police officers said they found it challenging to staunch the flow of vehicles. Scores had turned outdoors armed with affidavits citing reasons for travel. Most said they required to stock up on provision and perishables. However, the police turned back many who had strayed kilometres away from their place of residence on the ‘pretext’ of shopping for essentials. An officer said the traffic had dwindled to a trickle by afternoon. Authorities cast a net of extra vigilance around epidemic hotspots.
The police found it difficult to persuade people to follow the pandemic protocol in some localities. They stopped an equestrian race conducted at Thathamangalam, near Palakkad, on Saturday morning in blatant violation of the COVID-19 restrictions. Hundreds of people gathered to witness the biennial event, throwing caution to the winds. The police slapped cases on many people, including the organisers.
The State wore an almost deserted look for the better part of the day. Hotels, bars, gymnasiums, State-run liquor outlets, shops, supermarkets, public parks, beaches, cinemas, malls and sports centres remained closed. A sprinkling of restaurants opened for home delivery and takeaways.
The State was still reeling under the economic hardship wrought by the initial COVID-19 surge. Hence, many residents seemed to accept the 48-hour lockdown somewhat grudgingly.
Mr. Vijayan would chair an all-party meeting via videoconference on April 26. The conference would deliberate on whether the State should press on with the weekend lockdown restrictions.
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