No lockdown for now in TN: Health secy Radhakrishnan

As many as 89 people have tested positive for Covid with an ‘S’ gene drop, a marker for Omicron.

Published: 23rd December 2021 05:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2021 05:41 AM   |  A+A-

A scene at North Usman Road in T Nagar; people continue to violate Covid-19 protocols on the streets of Chennai | Ashwin Prasath

By Express News Service

VELLORE: Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, speaking at an event in Vellore on Wednesday, ruled out the possibility of the TN government imposing a State-wide lockdown any time soon.

In the wake of the Union Health Ministry advising States to impose restrictions amid the rising Omicron cases, he said, “The Centre’s Expert Committee has directed for local-level restrictions to be imposed in a region in which the test positivity rate is 10 per cent or above, or where 40 per cent of hospital beds are occupied. Neither the World Health Organization nor the Centre has suggested a complete lockdown.

We are monitoring the situation in real-time. As of now, curbs will be placed in containment zones to prevent the spread of infections.” He advised the public to not “spoil” the lockdown relaxations in the State. On Wednesday, the State’s TPR is 0.59 per cent. As many as 89 people have tested positive for Covid with an ‘S’ gene drop, a marker for Omicron.

‘TN has sought boosters for docs, elderly’

While warning that the Omicron variant spreads three times faster, Radhakrishnan said patients testing positive for the variant or suspected to have it have shown minimal lung infection. “They’re all fine, and none of them have needed ventilator support till now. There is no need to panic. The government is well prepared with beds, drugs and vaccines. But, everyone should get vaccinated,” he said.

Answering a query on booster shots, he said, “The State government had requested the Centre to allow booster shots, at least for medical workers and senior citizens who are at risk, as well as permission to vaccinate those below 18 years.”

Radhakrishnan said 104 persons arriving from foreign countries, and their contacts, have tested positive for Covid-19 in the State since screening for the Omicron variant began. “Of them, 22 have been discharged. During testing on the eighth day of their arrival, 44 people tested positive,” he said.

Apart from patients arriving from other countries, random samples of two per cent of the total positive cases in the State are tested for the novel variant for surveillance purposes, he added. The health secretary said 5,525 dengue cases have been reported in the State this year, of which 669 are yet to recover. On an average, 30 to 50 cases are reported daily.

“We have deployed 24,068 workers to inspect the residential areas and 15,853 sprayers to control the mosquito menace,” he said. Also, 13 districts bordering Kerala are being monitored for spread of bird flu.


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