Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state till July 31 while easing more curbs. The graded relaxations come amid a dip in the daily Covid-19 cases.
Schools and colleges will remain closed, however, industrial schools, ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) and type-writing schools have been permitted to function with 50 per capacity on a rotational basis, as per the new guidelines.
Teachers have also been allowed in schools for admission process and books distribution. The ongoing lockdown in Tamil Nadu was going to end on July 19. Only 50 people will be allowed for weddings and 20 for funerals, said an official statement by Chief Minister MK Stalin.
He also appealed to people not come out of homes unnecessarily and gather in crowds, amid fears about the third wave of the pandemic. Inter-state buses, except to and from Puducherry, will continue to be prohibited.
Theatres, bars, swimming polls, zoos, political or community meetings with public participation, entertainment and cultural events will remain banned. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala and Maharashtra to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the states.
In the virtual meet, MK Stalin, flagged comparatively less allocation of Covid-19 vaccine doses to Tamil Nadu and said the Centre should provide 10 million doses as a special case. Tamil Nadu reported 2,312 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the caseload to 25,31,118. The number of fatalities mounted to 33,652 with 46 deaths due to the virus in the last 24 hours.
No end to Kerala’s woes
Kerala on Saturday last logged 16,148 new Covid-19 cases, the highest in a month, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “The high volume of cases is a big concern and it emphasised the need for more vigil and surveillance,” Vijayan said during a press meeting. In the last 24 hours, the country reported 38,079 cases of Covid-19 and the state’s contribution was around 40 per cent of the total national caseload. The state’s test positivity remained 10.76 per cent while the national average is below 3 per cent. The state’s weekly average was above 14,000 cases with 10 per cent TPR.
Since June 15, Kerala, the country’s first state to report a virus case in January 2020, topped in new cases and active caseload. Two districts, Malappuram and Kozhikode, reported more than 2,000 cases but the CM reiterated that there is no need for panic.
“High caseload is due to increased tests. We have set a high testing target and moving towards this. Even at the peak of the second wave, the state did not use 70 per cent of its hospital infrastructure. No oxygen shortage is reported here,” he said, adding that it was due to proper planning and execution of pandemic prevention activities.