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    Centre accuses Kerala of violating COVID-19 lockdown guidelines

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    In a letter, the Union home ministry registered strong objection to the Kerala government’s decision to allow opening of restaurants, bus travel in cities and opening of MSME industries in municipal areas, saying it violated the lockdown guidelines.

    In the letter, the home ministry said the state government on April 17 has circulated revised guidelines for lockdown measures which allowed opening of activities which are prohibited in the Centre’s consolidated revised guidelines issued on April 15.

    The Kerala government had divided the districts into four zones for containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Red zone consists of Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram. Orange (A) zone consisted of Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, and Kollam, where lockdown will last till April 24. In the Green and Orange (B) Zones, Kerala from Monday onwards allowed hospitals and pharmacies, shops selling agriculture, pisciculture and plantation products, construction works, government offices, financial institutions, hotels and restaurants to function subject to social distancing rules. However, large gatherings, socio-religious functions, celebrations, educational institutions, cinema theatres, shopping complexes, parks and bars continued to remain shut.

    This amounts to dilution of guidelines issued by the home ministry and violation of its April 15 order issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005, the home ministry said.

    Kerala on Sunday reported two positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, taking the total number of affected to 401 while the health department announced that 13 people were cured.

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