CHENNAI: Even as the fourth phase of the lockdown is coming to an end by Sunday, the restrictions in Chennai and its three neighbouring districts — Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu — are unlikely to be relaxed while other districts in the State can expect significant relaxations from June 1.
The expert committee comprising health experts, which appraised the State’s situation with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday, has dropped enough indications to this effect.
"We cannot apply the same yardstick for the whole of Tamil Nadu when it comes to relaxing the restrictions. We have to assess the situation in each district and act accordingly. The committee feels the government should be careful about Chennai and its surrounding districts since infections are going up there. Hence, certain restrictions should continue," said Dr Prabhdeep Kaur, Deputy Director of National Institute of Epidemiology.
Dr Kaur said that during the meeting certain new findings about the coronavirus were also discussed.
‘Virus spread is high in densely populated cities’
"The virus spread is high in cities which have thick population. In the entire country, 70 per cent of the cases have been reported from 30 districts. With this understanding, we have to plan our future strategy. When we increase the testing, the cases will also increase. So, when the number increases, we should not panic," she added
Responding to a question, Dr P Kuganandham, an infectious disease control expert in the city, said, "Already, many relaxations have been given. Beyond this, there are expectations about resuming public transport . If we allow this in Chennai, human lives will be at risk. So, we feel that it can be only done in a phased manner."
When asked whether community spread started in Chennai, the doctor said, "This has become a word game. When there is community spread, the mortality rate will be high. But now the spread is only in certain areas. Compared with foreign countries, our mortality rate is very low. But we should not boast about it. We should lower even this percentage."