CHENNAI: Six more persons tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases in Tamil Nadu to 18. Even as the State prepared itself for a lockdown, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar tweeted about three of the six cases, who are from Chennai and had travelled abroad. In a tweet, he said a 74-year-old man from Porur and a 52-year-old woman from Purasawalkam, who had returned from the US, are at Stanley; and a 25-year-old woman from Keelkattalai who came back from Switzerland is at Kilpauk Medical College.
Confirming the three other cases later in the evening, he tweeted that a 65-year-old man who returned from New Zealand is at a private hospital; a 55-year-old woman from Saidapet is at KMC and a 25-year-old man, who returned from London, is at RGGH. They have been kept in isolation.
Later in the night, he tweeted that the condition of the Madurai man who tested positive was deteriorating. Addressing reporters, Vijayabaskar said quarantine is mandatory for those who returned from abroad and people should show a sense of responsibility. “I order people who returned from foreign countries to strictly be under home quarantine for 28 days. We will seize the passports of those who violate the order,” he said.
Meanwhile, police closed all district borders at 6 pm. On whether the State would issue a fresh order in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, a senior government official said the State had already issued an order effective till 6 am April 1. So, a new order is not immediately needed. The government will take a call during the course of the week, he added.
Min allays community transmission fears
A media bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health gave details about three of the six new cases. It said the 74-year-old man had travelled from the US to Chennai via Singapore on March 12. He had been in contact with 108 people. The 52-year-old woman had travelled from the US to Chennai via London on March 17 and had been in contact with 149 people. The 25-year-old woman had travelled from Switzerland to Delhi on March 15, and then come to her mother’s house at Medavakkam. She had been in contact with 41 people.
“In Tamil Nadu, as many as 2,09,163 passengers have been screened at Chennai, Tiruchy, Madurai and Coimbatore airports. As on date, 15,298 passengers are under home quarantine for 28 days. A total of 43 asymptomatic passengers from highly-affected countries are currently being quarantined near airports and 116 are in isolation wards at hospitals. Till now, 743 samples have been taken from passengers,” the bulletin said.
It mentioned travel history of two of three patients who tested positive on Monday. The 25-year-old man from Chennai had travelled from London to Bengaluru airport and then to Chennai via car on March 14. He had been in contact with 23 people. The 48-year-old man from Tirupur had travelled from the UK to Coimbatore on March 15. He had been in contact with 185 people.
Health Minister C Vijaybaskar told reporters that the 55-year-old woman from Saidapet who tested positive had come into contact with her son who returned from abroad. “So, till now there is no community transmission,” the Minister said. Among the 18 positive cases in TN, only one comes under the high-risk group. The patient has co-morbid conditions, including uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension and lung disease for over 10 years, he added.
This patient, the 54-year-old man who tested positive in Madurai, did not have any travel history, but had come into contact with a group of Thai nationals, two of whom had tested positive in Erode. Later, the minister tweeted that this patient’s condition was deteriorating and the team was striving hard to stabilise him.
Killed for advice
A 35-year old man was killed in a quarrel that broke out after he allegedly asked another to maintain social distancing at a tea shop in Ooty.