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Origin of new cluster of cases in Chennai traced to city’s largest vegetable market

Noting that caseload of these corporation zones was very high, City Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said that 65% of cases were reported from only six wards in zones linked to the market.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: May 2, 2020 2:41:00 pm
176 cases were reported from Chennai on Friday (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar/Representational)

With a new cluster of cases being reporting from Chennai linking to the Koyambedu vegetable market, the City Corporation has now identified four more high-risk zones. The Tamil Nadu government has stepped up restrictions in the market operations, banned all retail vendors from the market area to allow wholesale dealers alone.

Noting that caseload of these corporation zones was very high, City Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said that 65 per cent of cases were reported from only six wards in zones linked to the market. “We have blocked entry and exit in these localities, providing food and provisions at door steps, Chennai Metro Water has deployed water tanks for houses without pipe connections,” he said.

The government has also appointed J Radhakrishnan, the state revenue secretary who held the office of health secretary for nearly a decade, as the nodal officer for Chennai city to handle the situation.

Of the 203 new cases reported on Friday, 176 were from Chennai, eight from Chengalpet and six from Tiruvallur, neighbouring districts of Chennai.

One of the corporation zones, Ambattur, had 27 cases on Friday in which 16 have been linked to a man who had been a platform vendor selling vegetables at the Koyambedu market. “Thirteen people including his family and neighbours tested positive now,” an official said.

In Valsaravakkam zone with 39 cases, 17 were linked to the Koyambedu market. “All these 17 cases were people who were shop owners, vendors and workers at Koyambedu market and their family members living here,” said an official in charge of the region.

Tamil Nadu govt freezes Dearness Allowance; opposition parties slam move Chennai: An effigy on coronavirus installed by Greater Chennai Corporation is seen hanging on a pole to spread awareness among people (File)

As the city currently has 906 active Covid-19 cases and “98 per cent of these cases were asymptomatic” according to the Commissioner Prakash, the government was busy devising new strategies on Friday to contain the situation in city’s highly populated zones even as the situation across the state seemed under control.

A 26-year-old medical representative and his five family members, three firemen who worked in disinfecting operations at the city’s high-risk zones Royapuram and Washermanpet were among the cases in Chennai.

In Karur, a district that had reported 42 cases and discharged all of them after treatments, a fresh case of a 25-year-old who worked for 108 ambulance services was identified.

Meantime, in Chennai’s Kilpauk Medical College, a 22-year-old woman house surgeon was found dead in her hostel room on Friday morning. According to the hospital administration, they had taken her samples for Covid-19 tests. A hospital official said the deceased doctor was deployed at the ward of pregnant women and was staying in the hostel for over a week. Police and the hospital administration did not reveal the cause of her death as the postmortem report was awaited.

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