Lockdown extended in TN till 31 January with more relaxations

Chennai: Tamilnadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday announced extension of lockdown in the State to prevent spread of corona epidemic from 1 to 31 January with more relaxations, while banning public entry in all beaches on Kannum Pongal day.

In a statement here, Palaniswami, who reviewed the Covid-19 pandemic situation with the district collectors and also with the medical panel and healthcare experts at the State Secretariat three days back, said the lockdown was being extended from 1 January till the midnight of 31 January, barring in containment zones.

He said the lockdown was extended by a month taking into account the prevailing corona situation and due to the emergence of a mutant variant of virus.

He said public would not be allowed to congregate in beaches on the occasion of Kaanum pongal (sight seeing) on 16 January, that would mark the culmination of the four-day pongal festivities, to prevent virus spread.

Normally, lakhs of people used to throng beaches and other places of tourist attractions as part of sight seeing on that day. The government had already banned New year revelry in all beaches for today and tomorrow.

The fresh relaxations announced were functioning of auditoriums with 50 per cent seating capacity, social, political and religious congregations subject to a maximum of 200 people from 1 to 31 January for which prior permission has to obtained from the District Collectors and from the Greater Chennai Police (for Chennai meetings).

Palaniswami said outdoor meetings, social and religious gatherings would be allowed with a maximum of 200 people and the existing system of E-registration for those coming to Tamilnadu from other states except Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry would continue, to prevent spread of the new variant of the virus.

He also said there was no ceiling in the number of people taking part in indoor and outdoor shootings for films and TV serials, besides allowing normal darshan in temples and other places of worship with relaxations in timings.

Except in containment zones, the relaxations already announced from December one would continue to be in force.

Though the pace of the positive cases has reduced despite announcing more relaxations, he said due to several steps taken by the state government the Covid-19 rate has been brought down to below 1.7 per cent in the last one month.

He said during the last ten days the positive cases were below the 1,100-mark and those under treatment has come down from about 50,000 to 8,867 at present.

Keeping this in mind, public were instructed to wear masks while going out and follow all the prevention measures put in place by the government.