Updated: July 4, 2020 1:32:44 pm
Deserted streets with closed shops is the new look of Tamil Nadu’s Madurai as the town, which is referred to as ‘Thoonga Nagaram’ — the city that never sleeps, is under a complete lockdown to stem the spread of the COVID-19 cases. Madurai reported at least 287 cases on Friday. So far, 3,423 have been infected and there are 2,405 active cases in the city.
The first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection was reported in Madurai on March 25. By May, a total of about 182 local cases were reported from Madurai, with three fatalities.
However, since the beginning of June, there has been a surge of cases in the city. This is partially attributed to the number of cases in Chennai. As per sources, many people had entered the city from Chennai without a valid E-pass, although strict conditions on inter-district travel were put.
Between June 22 to July 1, the number of cases in Madurai saw an upswing — 153, 137, 97, 203, 190, 217, 284, 290, 246, 297. Until June 23, there were only eight causalities but now the number has gone up to 51.
As per the latest reports, more than 80 per cent of the positive cases are in the limits of the corporation. All the 100 wards (which are separated into four zones) in the district have positive cases.
Seeing the alarming numbers, the corporation implemented many strategies, which includes closing down the Paravai Market — believed to be a source for more than 15 patient, decision to perform target testing over mass testing, as well as implementing effective triaging of patients at the hospitals, and conducting door to door surveillance, among others.
On June 27, the district collector T G Vinay had said at least 700 beds from private hospitals are being made available for the treatment of the patients. He directed all the private hospitals to allot a minimum of 25 per cent of their bed capacity to treat COVID positive patients.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, B Chandra Mohan, the Zonal Monitoring officer for Madurai said the health department is taking every possible step to break the chain. “Because of mobilization and active screening we can detect more and more cases. The effort is to early diagnose and isolate, those measures are currently on. Fever clinics have been set up across the districts and people walk-in to get themselves evaluated. The lockdown has helped to slow down the curve,” he said.
Mohan added that every village in the district is covered with a primary health center and the fever clinics are acting as a good entry point for people who have symptoms. He further added that the corporation has installed a telemedicine consultation unit to monitor the condition of patients who are home quarantined.
“There are 1,598 active cases in the district presently. Of these, 1,522 are either asymptomatic or mild symptomatic, which means they don’t need hospitalization. They can home quarantine themselves or can stay in COVID care centres. This indicates that more than 90 per cent of the infections so far are mild or asymptomatic in nature,” Mohan added.
Universities and colleges like Madurai Kamaraj University, Thyagaraja Engineering college have given space for patients who do not have an isolation facility at their house.
As many as 8,658 passengers have landed in Madurai through 132 domestic flight services. Of the total passengers, 51 of them have been tested positive.
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