Kerala will be put under a complete lockdown on July 24 and 25 amid a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, the state government announced on Wednesday, ANI reported.

The government said that on these two days, the same guidelines that it issued for June 12 and 13 will be followed. These include permission to only open shops selling essentials and restrictions on movement, except for emergency purposes, according to Onmanorama .

Kerala will also organise a mass testing drive on Friday. The government set a target of 3 lakh tests for the day and directed health department officials to focus on districts with a seven-day average positivity rate of more than 10%. “The number of daily tests shall also be enhanced urgently to the peak testing capacity for the effective containment of the pandemic,” the government added.

The state government has asked district officials to identify and demarcate micro-containment zones and impose stricter restrictions there to reduce the number of new infections.

Also read: Kerala’s move to lift Covid curbs for Bakrid ‘uncalled for’, says SC, warns of action if cases rise

Kerala reported 17,481 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing its tally of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic last year to 32,05,197, according to PTI. The state’s test positivity rate was nearly 12%. This was Kerala’s highest daily rise in cases in more than 1.5 months, The Times of India reported. The toll rose to 15,617 after 105 more deaths.

Despite the worsening Covid-19 situation, the Kerala government had on Sunday decided to relax certain restrictions in view of Eid-al-Adha, or Bakrid. Shops selling clothes, jewellery, home appliances and gifts were allowed to open, NDTV reported.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court criticised this decision. “To give in to pressure groups so that the citizenry of India is then laid bare to a nationwide pandemic discloses a sordid state of affairs,” the court observed.

The court warned that it will take action against the state government if its decision to relax restrictions results in the spread of the disease.