The lockdown imposed in Tamil Nadu due to Covid-19 was Thursday extended for another month, till August 31, 2020. The decision was announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, a day after he held a meeting with health experts and district collectors to take stock of the situation across the state.
Tamil Nadu, with 2,34,114 cases and 3,741 deaths as of Thursday, is the fourth most affected state in the country after Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The largest chunk of the cases comes from capital city Chennai, followed by Thiruvallur and Madurai. (Follow Tamil Nadu Coronavirus Live Updates)
Tamil Nadu lockdown guidelines: What is allowed, what is not
According to the latest guidelines, restrictions will remain in place in the state till August 31. On the five Sundays of August (2, 9, 16, 23, 30), a “complete lockdown” will be observed, restraining the movement of people and goods. Night curfew will be followed from 9 pm to 6 am. There are no relaxations in containment zones.
The government has, by and large, left transportation rules unchanged. The existing schedule of the Indian Railways and airline companies will continue; metro and electric train services remain suspended; buses will not operate. The e-pass system will be followed for inter and intra-state travel.
The timings of shops and marketplaces have been extended, and will now be permitted to function from 6 am to 7 pm.
Schools and colleges will remain closed until further notice.
Restaurants will be allowed to operate from 6 am to 7 pm with 50 per cent capacity. Restaurants can continue home delivery services till 9 pm. The ban on air conditioners in restaurants will continue.
Theatres, gyms, swimming pools, beaches and parks will remain closed across the state.
Places of worship in corporations will remain closed. However, temples in panchayats and municipalities, which earn less than Rs 10,000 per annum, will be allowed to open.
Why has Tamil Nadu opted to extend the lockdown?
The state is still seeing a rise in daily cases. For six consecutive days, till Wednesday, the state recorded over 6,000 cases of the disease. While the 7,000 mark is yet to be breached, numbers have hovered very close to it for several days.
The disease has also started percolating to rural areas from urban centres.
Further, frontline workers have been increasingly contracting the disease. From health to corporation officials, several people have tested positive for the disease. Most recently, Governor Banwarilal Purohit was advised to self-isolate after a spike in cases at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai. Over 85 people have tested positive for the disease in the premises of the Governor’s residence.
Is it all bad news?
Not really. The Chief Minister, during his meeting with officials Wednesday, said aggressive testing, contact tracing and effective treatment was helping the state fight the pandemic.
Palaniswami told officials the fatality rate in Tamil Nadu has dropped to 1.6 per cent, which he claimed was the lowest in the country. He also said the recovery rate had risen to 73 per cent with more than one lakh people recovering from the disease so far.
Tamil Nadu has tested the most number of samples for Covid-19 in the country at nearly 25 lakh. And, therefore, the more tests conducted, the higher the detection of cases. The state has now begun using the antigen tests, which provide results within half an hour.
What’s the situation like in Chennai?
Palaniswami on Wednesday said Chennai numbers were on gradual decline. There are 97,575 people infected in the city so far.
Meanwhile, Chennai crossed a grim milestone on Wednesday, reporting over 2,000 deaths due to Covid-19. With 2,076 deaths so far, Chennai has a fatality rate of 2.1 per cent. The recovery rate, on the other hand, is 84.5 per cent.
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