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TN announces ₹3,280-crore relief package

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on March 24, 2020 Published on March 24, 2020

As the lockdown began at 6 pm on Tuesday, policemen place barricades on Chennai’s Beach road to regulate vehicles and to urge motorists to stay at home   -  Bijoy Ghosh

The Tamil Nadu government has announced a ₹3,280-crore coronavirus relief package. This includes financial support of ₹1,000 to all ration card holders; and also free rice, cooking oil, sugar and other essential commodities in the wake of the week-long lockdown that started at 6 pm on Tuesday.

These essential items will be issued on a token basis. Those who cannot get ration items in March can get them in April, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami told the Assembly on Tuesday, the last day of the session; the House was adjourned sine die. The session was to end on March 31 (originally it was April 9), but was advanced to Tuesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Palaniswami said registered hawkers, autorickshaw drivers and construction workers will also get a special assistance of ₹1,000. Migrant labourers, construction workers and autorickshaw drivers will get 15 kg rice, 1 kg dal and cooking oil for free, he added.

The lockdown has been announced as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Severe restrictive measures will be in place across the State for the next one week.

Meanwhile, with three more people — all overseas returnees testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the total number of cases in Tamil Nadu rose to 15.

Health Minister Vijayabaskar tweeted that as on Tuesday evening, a total of 2.09 lakh people were screened; under follow up (15,298); beds in isolation wards (9,154); current admissions (116); samples test (743 - with 608 negative and 15 positive and one discharged) and under process (120).

In a separate tweet, he said that during a meeting on Monday evening, Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice-Chairman of Apollo Hospitals, informed that the hospital was prepared to treat coronavirus patients in a 100-bed facility. The Union Ministry of Healthcare and Family Welfare had approved the Covid-19 test lab at Apollo subsequent to CMC Vellore.

With the 6 pm lockdown deadline, post-lunch, people headed home early from offices. There was also panic buying of vegetables and groceries despite an assurance from the State government that essential services and items, including milk, fruits, vegetables and groceries will be available.

Meanwhile, superstar Rajinikanth donated ₹50 lakh for the well being of daily wage workers of the South Indian film industry who would be thrown out of work due to the clampdown. Other Kollywood stars including Suriya, Karthi and Vijay Sethupathi also pitched in with contributions.

Published on March 24, 2020

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