Tamil Nadu to intensify lockdown from April 26 for four days

Curfew tightens in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Tirupur as urban centres witness spike in cases
Unmindful of the risks of contracting infection, people throng Sowcarpet, a major commercial hub in Chennai, on Friday | DEBADATTA MALLICK
Unmindful of the risks of contracting infection, people throng Sowcarpet, a major commercial hub in Chennai, on Friday | DEBADATTA MALLICK

CHENNAI: Hours before Tamil Nadu recorded 72 fresh cases and two deaths, the State government announced an intensive lockdown in five cities on Friday — Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Tirupur. The intensified lockdown is aimed at further restricting the movement of people in these cities which have witnessed a spike in infections, said officials.      

Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai will enforce intensified lockdown for a four-day period — Sunday (April 26) to Wednesday (April 29) — while Salem and Tirupur will implement it for three days, ending Tuesday (April 28). In a separate order, the district administrations of Chengalputtu, Kancheepuram, and Tiruvallur have also extended the same set of restrictions.

As per the Government Order, people will not be allowed to step out of their houses during the four-day intensified lockdown period, except for a few essential things, such as buying vegetables in front of their houses from mobile vendors or going to pharmacies. Grocery shops and bakeries will remain closed through the period. While restaurants can home deliver orders placed over phone, packaged drinking water will not be available.  

Official sources told Express that the decision was taken based on advise from health experts. “The State is keen to curb the community spread, especially in Chennai where the cases are increasing every day,” sources said. Dr K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health, said, “More cases have been reported from urban areas. So, we want to control these cases. In these three days, we have to wait and see how it works and cannot predict anything now.” Meanwhile, a team of Central experts are expected to arrive here on Friday.

Complex case of deceased alcoholic

Among Friday’s 72 fresh cases, a whopping 52 were from Chennai. The two deaths include a 67-year-old man, who was admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on April 14.  Though he died on April 22, his test results showed him positive for the virus only  later. “The man was an alcoholic and he used to roam the streets. On April 14, he sustained head injuries after falling on the road. The police rescued and admitted him to hospital, but he died on April 22,” officials said.

The hospital had sent his sample for test and the body was kept in the mortuary. The results turned positive on Friday. The official said the man was unmarried and his sister refused any connection with him. “His sister said the man hadn’t come to their house for a long time but we have quarantined them.”The second victim was a 70-year old woman who was admitted to hospital in Madurai, on April 21. She died on Friday.

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The New Indian Express