Is Chennai becoming Tamilnadu’s Wuhan?

Chennai: Even as several districts of Tamilnadu have drastically reduced the number of Covid-19 positive cases, it is exactly the opposite in Chennai.

The city which is the State’s capital has also become the epicentre of the pandemic, so to speak.

As far as the metropolis is concerned, the numbers continue to soar on a daily basis, reaching the 100-mark every now and then, including today, as a whopping number of 138 cases were reported.

The rise in number is so much worrying that even Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has said that it is becoming difficult to control the spread of the virus in the city.

Many people from various fields, with whom News Today  interacted, are of the opinion that lockdown measures were not strictly implemented in Chennai, when compared to other parts of the State.

“When even remote districts could control the spread of the pandemic, why not it is possible in Chennai? More strong measures are the need of the hour,” says Shankar, who works in the healthcare sector.

He adds: “Last Saturday, a day before the four-day total lockdown, people thronged market places in large numbers and there was no one to control them. If this is the case, how would the numbers come down?”

Says Vadivelan, an activist, “The situation in Chennai could have been handled in a much better way. Special task forces should be formed. Police personnel should be deployed in markets and tightening of norms should happen in an organised manner.”

Even in places such as Erode where there was initial spike, the curve has been flattened, he points out.

According to health experts, the more worrying factor is that 90 percent people who were tested positive in Chennai were asymptomatic. Out of the 94 positive cases in Chennai yesterday, 67 are between the age group of 19 to 49. The spike in the numbers is said to be on the rise as people are not strictly adhering to social distancing and following the lockdown rules.

Taking stock of the situation, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said that the social distancing measures will be intensified.

Prakash said that 65 per cent people affected in Chennai are located in six zones – Tondiarpet, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Royapuram, Triplicane, Anna Nagar, Kodambakkam.

“It is not clear how 44 people got infected by the virus. Those details are being tracked. Special focus is put in these six zones. We are confident that the number of positive cases can be reduced gradually in the coming days,” he said.

He further said strict action will be taken against the shops that do not follow the corporation rules and regulations for three months.

However, some people from north Chennai who spoke to News Today said measures by officials were not enough. “Chennai is a congested area where more people live in less space. The official manpower is just not enough to monitor people and carry out works effectively,” said Ravi of Royapuram.

There are more than 550 active cases in Chennai and as many as 210 people have been discharged. It may be noted that 13 fatalities in Chennai contributes to more than half of the State toll of 25.

Official sources said that people need not panic about the increase in the number of positive cases. “It means that the officials are searching for and finding more cases,” sources added.

NT Bureau