Thiruvananthapuram | Jagran News Desk: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday evening imposed additional restrictions in the state to reduce the COVID-19 positivity rate. The restrictions, Vijayan said, will begin from June 5 and continue till June 9.

During these five days, shops dealing in essential commodities will only be allowed to operate in Kerala. Vijayan also said that shops selling raw and construction materials for industrial establishments can also operate during the restricted period.

"The government and quasi-government institutions, public sector undertakings, corporations and commissions will be allowed to function with 50 per cent staff strength from June 10," Vijayan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Vijayan, who won the recently concluded assembly elections in Kerala last month, had imposed a lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19. On May 29, he extended the restrictions till June 9 but withdrew the "triple lockdown" imposed in the Malappuram district.

Later on June 1, the lockdown guidelines were also modified in Kerala with Vijayan allowing government offices -- operate by both Centre and state -- to reopen with 50 per cent of their staff. He also allowed morning walks from 5 am to 7 am and evening walks from 7 pm to 9 pm.

COVID-19 positivity rate continues to remain high

The COVID-19 positivity rate continues to remain high in Kerala. On Thursday, the state reported 18,853 new COVID-19 cases and 153 deaths that pushed its active cases and toll to 1.84 lakh and 9,375 respectively.

The new cases, as per the state health department, were reported with a positivity rate of 15.22 per cent. State Health Minister Veena George said that 1.23 lakh samples were tested for COVID-19 in Kerala in the last 24 hours.

"Out of those found infected today, 110 reached the state from outside while 17,521 contracted the disease through their contacts. The sources of infection of 1,143 are yet to be traced. Seventy-nine health workers are also among the infected," George said in a release, as reported by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma