Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday asked local authorities and police officials to strictly enforce Covid-19 guidelines and said they could themselves decide on shutting down specific areas in case of continuous overcrowding.
Acting swiftly, the Greater Chennai Corporation announced closure of commercial complexes and retail outlets in crowded market places located in nine areas in the metropolis from July 31 to August 9.
Following a high level meeting at the Secretariat, Stalin extended curbs that are currently in vogue which includes closure of schools, colleges, cinemas and bars till 6 AM on August 9.
The prospect of coronavirus cases increasing in specific areas in view of excessive gathering of people was discussed in the meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, an official release here said.
If Covid-19 guidelines were not followed properly, it would have serious adverse effects and hence district collectors and police officials must stringently enforce the government’s coronavirus related guidelines, the Chief Minister advised officials.
Relaxations were made in restrictions taking into account the livelihood considerations of the people but norms should be followed properly to prevent virus spread.
If gathering of people in very large numbers was observed continuously in specific areas, the concerned district collectors, corporation commissioners and police officials could take a decision on measures to close down such neighbourhoods considering public good.
Following the diktat, the GCC in an official release said the decision on closure of outlets was conveyed to representatives of traders following a meeting with them that was chaired by top civic and police officials.
Besides the nine locations which includes the downtown Ranganathan Street junction from North Usman Road till Mambalam Railway Station, the Kothawal Chavadi market here would be shut between August 1 and 9 (till 6 AM) as part of measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as fresh virus cases increased for the second successive day.
The government said action would be taken against retail outlets and commercial establishments if norms specified to help prevent the spread of coronavirus were violated and if people were allowed in excess.
The CM advising officials to strictly enforce virus guidelines comes against the backdrop of Tamil Nadu reporting a marginal increase in new virus cases for the first time on July 29 after a decline that began in the last week of May.
While 1,859 new cases were reported on Thursday, the state logged 1,947 fresh infections on Friday, the second day of marginal spike. On July 28, Tamil Nadu registered 1,756 new cases.
Use of hand sanitiser, subjecting people to thermal screening, wearing mask, ensuring proper ventilation in stores and maintenance of physical distancing are among the guidelines stipulated for preventing the virus spread.
The government appealed to the people to be vigilant and stick to Covid appropriate behaviour so that the third wave of the coronavirus does not emerge in Tamil Nadu.
Emphasising on the saying “prevention is better than cure,” the Chief Minister said,”this is the time to be on guard,” and requested people to extend their cooperation to the government in fully curbing the virus spread.
With the drop in fresh cases, the government gradually eased COVID-19 curbs from June.