Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Monday announced that there will be a “maximised restricted lockdown” in Chennai and three neighbouring districts – Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur – from June 19 to June 30 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, The Times of India reported.
The announcement came after the chief minister met health experts and senior officials on Monday to review the state’s preparedness as it battled with rising coronavirus cases. Till Monday morning, the state had reported 44,661 Covid-19 cases and 435 deaths.
More than 70% of the state’s cases are in and around Chennai. According to the state’s dashboard, Chennai had 31,896 cases till Sunday evening, followed by 2,882 in Chengalpattu, 1,865 in Tiruvallur and 709 in Kancheepuram.
“Considering the spread of the virus and based on the recommendation of medical and health experts, an intense lockdown will be in force from 00.00 hours of June 19 till midnight of June 30,” Palaniswami said in a statement.
“Even as the government imposes lockdown or relaxations, the virus spread cannot be contained without the support of people,” the chief minister cautioned. “Wearing a mask has been mandatory for people stepping out. The disease can be contained only if people wash their hands frequently at home and workplaces, wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid going out unnecessarily and support the government.”
Areas that fall under Greater Chennai Police limits, Tiruvallur, Gummidipoondi, Ponneri, Minjur, Poonamallee, Ekkadu, Cholavaram, Chengalpet, Maraimalai Nagar, Nandivaram-Guduvanchery, Kattankulathur would face the lockdown.
There will be no relaxations on the two Sundays, June 21 and June 28, Palaniswami said. Only essential services such as milk supply and medical services would be available on these two days. Vegetables, grocery stores and fuel outlets would be open from 6 am to 2 pm through the lockdown.
Autos, taxis and private vehicles would only be allowed for emergency medical services during the lockdown, the state government said. Local government offices and essential services like revenue and disaster management, police, electricity and water departments, and treasuries would remain open. Employees in containment zones, however, would not have to report for work.
Banks will be allowed to open with 33% strength on June 29 and June 30, but ATMs will remain open through the lockdown. The state government has also permitted takeaways from restaurants between 6 am and 8 pm as well as deliveries by food aggregators, Amma canteens and community kitchens run by local bodies.
In containment zones, however, no activity will be permitted. “Surveillance will be intensified during intense lockdown,” Palaniswami said. “Local bodies will ensure supply of essential goods in containment areas and quarantined homes. Disinfectants will be sprayed twice a day in these areas.”
India on Monday recorded 11,502 new cases and 325 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The total number of cases has crossed 3.32 lakh and the toll is 9,520. It is now the fourth most-affected country in the world.