In a major development on Friday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced that a complete lockdown will be enforced in state capital Chennai, Coimbatore, and Madurai from April 26 to April 29 between 6 AM and 9 PM. The Chief Minister has also announced a complete lockdown in Salem and Tiruppur from April 26 and April 28 between 6 AM and 9 PM. The move comes as an attempt to restrict the COVID spread which has gripped the entire nation with the state accounting for 1,683 positive cases and 20 deaths to date. 752 individuals have also recovered from the disease in the southern state.
Meanwhile, a nationwide lockdown till May 3 as announced by the Prime Minister on April 14 has already been enforced. The announcement of a complete lockdown means that barring essential services, a strict ban shall be imposed on other activities within the given dates. Small shops selling fruits and vegetable will not be allowed to operate between the given dates. Essentials like groceries, vegetables and fruits will be available in mobile shops arranged by the city corporations. However, wholesale vegetable and fruit markets shall continue to operate.
Online delivery of food items has been allowed and employees of IT companies in these areas must work from home. Government and private offices including the Registrar's office will not be allowed to function between April 26 and April 28/29. Medical services, revenue and disaster management, and Aavin milk will be allowed while 33% of employees in Central Government offices and banks have been permitted to carry out essential work. ATMs will also remain operational during this period.
Following the spike in number of Coronavirus cases, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said a series of measures were being implemented to check the spread of the contagion in the city.
"Considering the prevailing situation, I have directed steps to completely curb public movement in containment zones, expedite contact tracing and subject them to tests, and carry out coronavirus testing on those in the city limits with symptoms like breathlessness, fever, and throat pain," he had said in a statement.
Two IAS officials have been additionally appointed as zonal officers for this purpose, he said. Further, he announced an increase in the solatium for frontline workers in the battle, from the existing Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.