A Statewide lockdown has been announced in Tamil Nadu from 6 pm on Tuesday as part of measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Section 144 of the CrPc will be imposed till March 31 and severe restrictive measures will be in place across the State for the next one week.
“Barring essential operations, plying of public and private transport; auto and taxi, and both inter- and intra-State transport will be fully banned,” said Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
“State borders will be closed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 with district collectors and police commissioners to issue appropriate orders under Section 144,” he said while making a suo motu statement in the Assembly. Vehicles with essential commodities will be allowed to ply. Government departments dealing with essential/emergency services such as police, fire services, medical and court, will be operational, he said.
The announcement comes a day after the total number of Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu rose to nine on Sunday. Positive cases were reported in three districts — Chennai, Kancheepuram and Erode.
Private companies, including IT firms, should adopt a ‘work-from-home’ policy for their employees. Companies involved in essential commodities and exports should operate with minimal staff. Construction work, other than those required for emergency purposes, shall be stopped. Considering that thousands of people are staying in hostels, hotels would be allowed to operate only to deliver food and all Amma Canteens will continue to function, he said.
People who have returned from abroad should voluntarily quarantine themselves and report to the government hospital if they experience symptoms of Covid-19. “I appeal to the people to support the government in preventing the spread of the virus,” said Palaniswami. The State government is considering relief for families affected by the situation, he added.
The Chief Minister also announced another ₹500 crore (in addition to the earlier allocation of ₹60 crore) to various departments to take preventive action. Strict action will be taken against those who have symptoms of coronavirus and don’t inform the government. “We will not allow one death due to the virus,” said Palaniswami .
The current session of the Tamil Nadu Assembly will end on Tuesday as against March 31, Speaker P Dhanapal announced in the House. The opposition DMK had announced it will boycott of the rest of the Assembly session due to coronavirus, citing safety of its members.
The Madras High Court today permitted the State government to allow packaged water units to function temporarily, even without licence, till July 31. This is to ensure adequate supply of drinking water across the State.
C Vijayabaskar, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, tweeted that 2.09 lakh people have been screened; 12,519 are under follow up; 9,266 beds ready in isolation wards; and 552 samples have been tested (negative 503; positive 9; discharged 1).
Key takeaways from Palaniswami’s speech:
- No public and private transport, auto, taxi, inter-district will be allowed to run.
- Vehicles with essential commodities such as milk, vegetables, grocery and fish will be allowed
- Only government departments dealing with essential sectors such as police, fire service, medical and courts, will be operational.
- Work from home for private companies, including IT firms.
- Companies involved in essential commodities and exports should operate with minimal staff
- Construction work, other than those required for emergent purposes, shall be stopped.
- Considering that thousands of people are staying in hostels, hotels would be allowed to operate only for delivery of parcels.
- All Amma Canteens will continue to function
- Palaniswami said people who have returned from abroad should voluntarily quarantine and should report any Covid-19 symptoms to a government hospital to ensure that the virus does not spread to others.