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Friday, May 29, 2020

Tamil Nadu: Amma canteen employee in Chennai tests positive for Covid-19

The woman has been shifted to Omandhurar Government College and Hospital. Following the report, the Amma Unavagam in Icehouse has been shut and all the employees of the branch are being tested.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai | Updated: May 4, 2020 7:05:33 pm
Koyembedu wholesale market in Chennai. (Express photo)

A 52-year-old woman working at Amma Unavagam (Amma canteen) tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. She was working at the Gajapathy Lala Street branch near Triplicane in Chennai. Amma Unavagam is a scheme run by the government of Tamil Nadu, providing subsidised food.

The woman has been shifted to Omandhurar Government College and Hospital. Following the report, the Amma Unavagam in Icehouse has been shut and all the employees of the branch are being tested.

In April, the Greater Chennai Corporation, which runs over 400 Amma canteens, said it would serve free food during the lockdown. However, after the government announced that hotels and other food services could operate (only parcel services) after May 4 in non-containment areas, the authorities in-charge of Amma Unavagam instructed respective zonal officers to cancel the free food initiative. Migrant laborers and the needy were thriving on the free food of Amma Unavagams. On Monday, Amma Unavagams saw a lukewarm response, with people having to shell out from their own pockets for a meal. The move didn’t go well with politicians and social activists who requested the government to reconsider their decision. After a while, the government gave a statement extending the free food initiative till May 17.

Outside an Amma canteen in Chennai. (Express photo)

Meanwhile, Koyembedu wholesale market in Chennai has turned into a Covid-19 hotspot after 107 people, mostly vendors, loaders, and other workers, tested positive in Cuddalore. All of them are linked to the Koyembedu cluster.

So far, 129 positive cases from Cuddalore, 76 from Villupuram, 63 from Chennai, 42 from Ariyalur, seven from Kancheepuram, and one from Perambalur, Thanjavur, and Tiruvarur are linked to the Koyembedu cluster. Massive contact tracing is underway in the state to find out who had visited the place in the last few weeks.

In Tamil Nadu, 3,023 people (2,015 male, 1,007 female, and a transgender) have tested positive for Covid-19. Of the total cases, Chennai accounts for 1,458 cases, about 48 per cent. On May 3 alone 203 people tested positive in the capital city of Tamil Nadu.

There are 1,611 active cases in Tamil Nadu and 1,379 people have been discharged following treatment. A 44-year-old male from Coimbatore who was admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital in Chennai died on Sunday, taking the death toll to 30 in the state.

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