Thiruvananthapuram: With the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases due to contact or with unknown source of infection, the lockdown implemented at the Thiruvananthapuram corporation limit has been extended till midnight of July 28.

The capital-district on Sunday recorded 222 more COVID-19 cases, of which as many as 203 are cases of local transmission.

The order issued by district collector Navjot Khosa on Sunday is applicable to the Corporation wards which are outside the Critical Containment Zones declared in the coastal areas.

Following a spike in COVID-19 cases, the district administration had issued orders on July 12 declaring a lockdown in the Corporation area from July 13 for seven days, a period which ended on Sunday.

All restrictions and relaxations mentioned in the July 12 order will continue to be in force.

Despite the lockdown, essential services were allowed to be opened till last week. The order stated that this will be allowed to continue in the next week as well.

Apart from the relaxations granted earlier, office of the accountant general will be allowed to function with 30 percent of its staff. Permission has also been granted to waste management units at KINFRA park and manufacturing units of medical equipment.

The order also stated that construction employees should stay at the place of their work and are not allowed to move outside.

Meanwhile, with the situation in the coastal areas especially dire, the health department has decided to implement a new testing strategy to rein in the district’s coastal community clusters.

“Three coastal zones have been identified to coordinate the prevention and control activities. Also, four more COVID First-Line Treatment Centres will be set up at Zone 1, which extends from Edava to Perumathura,” said an officer with the health department.

According to district collector Navjot Khosa, the extension of the lockdown was required because many of the patients were found to have had a large number of contacts across the city.

“The active cases are being treated at various hospitals in the district, and their primary and secondary contacts have been traced to prevent further transmission of the disease,” the collector said.

Meanwhile, two new testing strategies are being mulled for implementation at the coastal community clusters, especially at Pulluvila and Poonthura.

As per the first strategy, all symptomatic individuals including those with influenza- like illnesses will be tested. The second strategy is to test all elderly persons aged above 60, anybody with comorbid illnesses, all pregnant and postnatal women, and all children with severe acute malnutrition.

Antigen tests will be conducted for them. According to the health department, all those who test positive on the antigen tests shall be considered infected.