At least 786 more people tested positive for the coronavirus in Tamil Nadu, raising the number of such cases in the state to 14,753, while four fatalities were reported on Friday (May 22), the health department said.
The toll in the state has risen to 98 with four more succumbing to COVID-19, it said.
The state also saw a significant rise in the number of people discharged after recovery at 846. With this the number of people who have been cured after treatment has gone up to 7,128.
Among those who tested positive for the virus today included 92 people hailing from other states and one passenger who had returned from Philippines. According to the department bulletin, Chennai continues to lead in the number of cases at 569 totalling 9,364 till date. This is the third straight day the state is reporting over 700 COVID-19 cases.
On May 21 and 20 the state had reported 776 and 743 new cases respectively.
Meanwhile, with the spike in COVID-19 cases weighing heavily on the state government, it is not in favour of restarting domestic air services connecting cities in the state till the end of May and might take up the matter with the Centre, an official said on Friday.
The immediate concern of the government is to screen all the passengers arriving to the state and keep track of the infected, if any.
The sheer volume of passengers at airports would make the health machinery concentrate more on the inbound visitors, officials said.
Since the last ten days, the state health department detected 66 positive cases among returnees from abroad by flights and other states by trains. They were all quarantined.
As per the government guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and management, all entering the state should be scanned for the virus and if found to have symptoms, would be taken to government facilities for treatment.
The state government on Friday also allowed auto and cycle-rickshaws to ply across the state, except Chennai, from May 23, with conditions including a limit on the number of passengers allowed in an auto.
Vehicles in the Chennai city corporation police limit areas will not be allowed to ply, while those in containment zones also cannot run, a government release said.
In rest of the areas in the state, both auto and cycle-rickshaws can ply from 7 am to 7 pm, it said.
The guidelines for auto drivers resuming their work further read that besides the driver, there should be only one passenger in the vehicle, which should also be sprayed with disinfectants three times a day, the government said.
Further, both occupants of the vehicle must wear face masks and hand sanitizers must be made available in the vehicle for the passengers, while the drivers should regularly wash their hands using soap, it said.
(With inputs from agencies)