CHENNAI: The number of fresh Covid-19 cases breached the 200-mark for the first time in Tamil Nadu after three months as 219 people tested positive for the virus on Friday. Chennai alone reported 129 cases.
The State last reported more than 200 cases per day on March 5 (223 cases) after which the count gradually went down and even dipped to as low as 22 cases on April 12. While the State’s Test Positivity Rate (TPR) stands at 1.6%, it is 4.2% in Chennai.
Surge a miniwave fuelled by new sub variants of Omicron, says health secy
Speaking to reporters after inspecting the vaccine storage facility on the DMS campus in Chennai ahead of the mega Covid-19 vaccination camp on June 12, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the surge in cases is a miniwave fuelled by the new sub-variants of Omicron — BA.4 and BA.5. TN has so far reported seven cases of BA.4 and 11 cases of BA.5.
Those affected with the new variants only had mild symptoms with fever for two days, Radhakrishnan said. The officer, however, said people must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated as the variants might be fatal for elderly and people with comorbidities. He said the State continues to have less than 1% bed occupancy and only 51 people are currently in admission. Of this, 17 are on oxygen support, and seven are in ventilators. It would be a cause of concern only if the occupancy goes above 40%, he added.
The whole genome sequencing report from March to date shows that only Omicron variants are reported in TN, Radhakrishnan said. Of this, 70% are BA.2, 39 % are BA.3, and 6 % BA.1. BA.4 and BA.5 account for less than 1% of the cases, he said.
The health secretary said Chief Minister MK Stalin is continuously reviewing the situation. The State is also in touch with health officials in Maharashtra and Kerala where cases are on a rise. On the chances of bringing back lockdown restrictions, Radhakrishnan said experts are of the opinion that such restrictions are not the solution. They have said local containment measures should be implemented where there is a surge and restrictions should be the last resort, he added.