An expert committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government to combat COVID-19 reiterated on Thursday that the ongoing lockdown will be relaxed only in a phased manner and cannot be lifted across the state in one go.
Following a two-hour-long discussion with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, a key member of the committee, Dr. Prabhdeep Kaur, recommended to the state government that whenever the lockdown ends, it should be a graded one. “The lockdown is moving towards the next stage. At this moment, it is not possible to lift the lockdown across the state in one go, it can only be done in a phased manner. We recommended the government to do more testing. Only by increased testing, we can identify more areas affected by the virus and carry out another necessary process like prevention, contact tracing, isolation, etc”, she said.
“Fatality is very low in Tamil Nadu which is a big achievement. Another area where the state is excelling is contact tracing. We had one big cluster and it is settling down slowly. The government is doing well in contact tracing in the second cluster,” she said.
She added that the government should keep doing surveillance, testing, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, etc. “Only by continuing this process, we can stem the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. We are in (the midst of a) pandemic.. there won’t be a situation without cases. There will be waves, sometimes the cases will increase and sometimes they will decrease. In such a situation, we should not panic. We need to focus and apply the right strategies to control the cluster so that it doesn’t spread to other districts, cities,” Dr. Kaur added.
The committee also stressed that even if there is a relaxation in some sectors and people are allowed to get back to work, they should maintain social distancing. They should wear masks and at least one-meter distance should be maintained between two people.
Thousands of migrant workers depart for home via Shramik Special trains
Thousands of migrant workers, who had been stranded in Tamil Nadu during the lockdown, departed for their hometowns through Shramik Special trains on Thursday.
One train bound for Bhadrak in Odisha departed from Coimbatore at 10.45 am, while another bound for Guwahati, Assam, left from Coimbatore at 3.45 pm. A third train left for Bihar from the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M G Ramachandran Chennai Central station at 5.30 pm.
The passengers, who had been registered with the Tamil Nadu government were subject to thermal screening before boarding the trains and were instructed to ensure social distancing.
State issues guidelines for inter-state and inter-district movement
The Tamil Nadu government Thursday issued guidelines on inter-state and inter-district movement amid the lockdown.
According to the guidelines:
- Testing will only be done for those people showing COVID-19 symptoms during inter-district travel in Tamil Nadu. All individuals will be home quarantined for 14 days.
- For inter-state travel, all individuals will be tested irrespective of whether they have the symptoms or not. Those who test positive will be taken to hospitals for further treatment while those coming from COVID-19 hotspot state, even if they test negative, will be subject to institutional quarantine for seven days. If they do not display any symptoms after seven days, they will be home quarantined for another week or can remain in the government quarantine facility for another seven days.
- Persons travelling from non-hotspot states to Tamil Nadu and testing negative need to be home quarantined or can avail institutional quarantine facilities for 14 days.
- Persons coming to Tamil Nadu from other countries will be tested on arrival. Those who test positive will be taken to hospitals while those test negative will be institutionally quarantined for seven days. After seven days, if the second test comes out negative, the passengers will be subjected to 14 days of home quarantine.
- Terminally ill patients, pregnant women and senior citizens over the age of 75, who require assistance, will be exempted. Those who have to attend the funeral and rituals of an immediate family member will be released for home quarantine after the initial testing.
All the persons who are tested will have to remain in the quarantine centres until the results are available and should obtain a TN e-pass before leaving the centre.
Government of Tamilnadu has issued a new guidelines for people who are travelling Intra-District, Inter-State and from other countries into Tamilnadu #Covid19Chennai #GCC #Chennai#ChennaiCorporation pic.twitter.com/9m72kLfMqh
— Greater Chennai Corporation (@chennaicorp) May 14, 2020
Tamil Nadu reports 445 new COVID-19 cases; lowest in last 10 days
Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 445 new COVID-19 cases, of which Chennai accounted for 363 cases. The number of cases reported on Thursday is the lowest the state has reported in the past 10 days. As of Thursday, there are 7,365 active cases and the state has carried out 2, 91,432 sample tests.
On Thursday, 64 people were discharged following treatment. The state reported two deaths, taking the toll to 66. The mortality rate of TN is 0.67 per cent (lowest in the country) and the recovery rate stands at 23.1 per cent.
Apart from Chennai, Tiruvallur (15), Chengalpattu (9), Tiruvannamalai(8), Kancheepuram (8), Kanyakumari (5), Perambalur (4), Tirunelveli (3), Madurai (1) reported COVID-19 cases. Dindigul, Karur, Ramanathapuram, Tenkasi, Theni, Thoothukudi districts also reported one case each.
Nine passengers who returned from other countries have tested positive till date in the state.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar on Thursday said that a 400-member team has been formed to test all the passengers returning from Delhi today and on May 16 through special trains. According to reports, close to 1000 people will be reaching Chennai today.
The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has arranged for COVID-19 testing facilities. The passengers will be directly shifted from the station to the quarantine facilities.
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