Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has made it mandatory for the public to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines such as wearing masks for the next one year, as part of its measures to tackle the spread of the virus in the state.

Through an amendment brought to the Epidemic Diseases Act, the state government said the regulations for the public will remain in effect till July 2021.

The norms have been issued under the 'Kerala Epidemic Disease Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Additional Regulations, 2020.'

In the wake of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, the government has taken a decision to strengthen precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus, the government said in an explanatory note with the Gazette notification.

According to the regulations, all persons shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or face cover in all public places, workplaces, any place where the public have access, all kinds of vehicles and during transport.

"All persons shall maintain a social distance of six feet between person to person in all public places and functions...

In all wedding ceremonies and functions thereafter the maximum number of participants at a time shall not exceed 50 people," it read. Not more than 20 people would be allowed at shops and funerals.

No get-together, processions, dharna, congregation, demonstration shall be held without the written permission of the authorities concerned.

Spitting in public places is strictly prohibited, it said.

In order to travel to Kerala, all residents and non- residents must register with the COVID-19 Jagratha platform before undertaking the journey.

The district collectors have been instructed to ensure due to compliance of the regulations.

Those who violate the rules shall be penalised under the provisions of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020.