In a bid to further control the surging number of coronavirus cases in the state, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday (June 29) extended the ongoing lockdown till July 31.
The statement comes two days before the state was expected to end the lockdown which was reinforced on June 19.
As per the government order, there will be a complete and strict lockdown imposed till July 5 in Chennai, Madurai, and other adjoining areas.
The order said that total lockdown will be imposed on all four Sundays of July 5, 12, 19 and 26 across the state. A maximum of 50 people will be allowed to take part in occasions such as weddings and funerals.
Until July 15, there will not be any public transportation and neither government or private buses will be allowed to commute. However, auto and cycle-rickshaws are allowed to operate with a maximum of two passengers and taxis with a cap of three people besides the driver.
Meanwhile, e-commerce websites have been given the permit to continue their delivery services for all sorts of goods, both essential and non-essential in nature.
Earlier in the day, the expert committee set up to advise the Tamil Nadu government on tackling the COVID-19 crisis favoured restrictions based on the scenario in specific regions and recommended that extension of the lockdown is not necessary.
“Our committee did not recommend lockdown. It is called a blunt instrument. Though not the best solution, it is needed sometimes. In Chennai, the lockdown has helped to increase doubling time (of cases) and slowing down transmission. But lockdown alone is not the solution for COVID-19 and we cannot be under lockdown forever,” Dr Prabhdeep Kaur of the National Institute of Epidemiology-ICMR said after taking part in a meeting chaired by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The decision comes on a day when Tamil Nadu reported nearly 4,000 fresh coronavirus cases and the tally crossed 86,000 while 62 more deaths brought the toll to 1,141.
Chennai recorded 2,167 of the 3,949 new cases in the state and nearby Chengelpet reported 187, Tiruvallur 154 and Madurai 303 while the remainder was scattered in other districts, a health department bulletin said.
Tamil Nadu’s tally stood at 86,224 while Chennai’s share was 55,969. As many as 2,212 patients were discharged from various hospitals and in total, 47,749 people have recovered and theactive cases were 37,331.
In 44 government and 18 private hospitals, 62 people died and 51 of them had co-morbidities.
A 13-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man were among a number of patients below 45 years to have died.
Since June 25, Tamil Nadu has been reporting 3,500 plus cases and today is the second succesive day of nearly 4,000 cases. On Sunday, 3,940 fresh cases were reported.
More inputs awaited…