Kerala celebrated Bakrid under the grim shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic for the second 12 months in a row on Wednesday.
The competition, which typically entails communal prayer, household visits, items for family members and buddies and feasting, appeared a subdued affair this season.
Families remained sequestered at house principally. Mosques allowed solely lower than 40 individuals for prayers. Worshippers purchased their mats, wore masks and sat bodily distanced for prayers. The conventional geniality after prayers appeared absent, given the COVID-19 protocol in opposition to shut bodily interplay.
Watchmen checked the physique temperature of tourists at mosque entrances, jotted down addresses, and cell phone numbers earlier than allowing them inside for prayers. Festival greetings have been confined primarily to cell phone video calls, WhatsApp messages, and on-line socialising.
Flak from SC
The customary vacation cheer appeared singularly absent. Residents typically deemed social gatherings unsafe. The authorities had additionally requested residents to keep away from vacation gatherings and informal journey. The State had come under criticism from the Supreme Court (SC) for permitting Bakrid relaxations regardless of a excessive take a look at positivity fee (10.8) that confirmed scarce indicators of declining.
The authorities’s pandemic skilled committee had additionally expressed concern that unregulated vacation crowds and competition buyers might precipitate one other harmful spike in COVID-19 circumstances.
Large swathes of Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts, the conventional hubs of Bakrid festivities, remained under the grip of the pandemic. The common TPR in scores of native physique jurisdictions in the areas was worryingly above 15%.
The authorities had categorised the localities as excessive unfold D-zones. District administrations have tautened pandemic curbs in such hotspots. The administration was additionally nervous that household-level clusters might upend the State’s pandemic management.
It has ordered ward-level committees to shift contaminated individuals who lack enough house to isolate themselves from the remainder of the household at house to close by FLTCs or hospitals with none delay.
Tighter norms from Thursday
The State authorities has, for now, rejected the merchants’ demand to withdraw weekend lockdown, carry evening curfew and permit outlets to open on all days in the run-up to the Onam purchasing season. It introduced that it could tighten COVID-19 rules from Thursday. Weekend lockdowns, evening curfew after 9 p.m., and curbs on retail and mobility would proceed till July 27 at the least.
An official mentioned any additional leisure would hinge on how briskly the State might decrease the TPR and ramp up vaccination.