‘No need for full lockdown, existing curbs enough’: Tamil Nadu health minister

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Tamil Nadu health minister Ma Subramanian said on Tuesday that there is no need for a lockdown in the state even though the number of cases is increasing. He said that the existing restrictions are enough for now.

“There is no need for full lockdown as of now. CM has asserted that the economy should not be affected, restricted lockdown enough for now,” Subramanian told reporters.

The restrictions imposed by the state government include a 10pm to 5am night curfew, prohibition of devotees in places of worship and total lockdown on Sundays.

All these curbs have been extended till January 31, in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The Tamil Nadu government has also directed the special inter-district buses for Pongal to run at 75 per cent of seating capacity.

According to the state government circular, devotees will not be allowed in all places of worship between January 14 and January 18.

The direction of the state government comes after chief minister MK Stalin chaired a meeting to review the Covid-19 and Omicron situation across Tamil Nadu earlier in the day.

The state government has, however, allowed Jallikattu with several restrictions.

The controversial sport is conducted annually during the three-day harvest festival of Pongal, which begins on January 14 this year.

Double vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test not older than 48 hours have been mandated for players, spectators and officials in charge of conducting the event, said a government order. It also capped the maximum number of spectators to be allowed.

Last year too, the state government had allowed Jallikattu with certain standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Tamil Nadu reported 13,990 new Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths on Monday, according to data released by state health department.

There are currently 62,767 active cases of in Tamil Nadu and as many as 2,547 patients have recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, the data further showed.

State capital Chennai, like most metros, has been the leading contributor in the high number of cases in Tamil Nadu since the beginning of the pandemic and is contributing to the caseload in the third wave of infections.

Chennai’s Covid test positivity rate has surged from 3.3% on January 1 to 17.4% as on January 9 which is exactly twice the state average which increased from 1.4 to 8.7% during the same period.

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