Nine more test positive for COVID-19 in TN, total rises to 38

: Nine more people tested positive for coronavirus in Tamil Nadu on Friday, taking the total number of cases to 38 in Tamil Nadu as Chief Minister K Palaniswami briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the action being taken to tackle the contagion.

While six cases were reported earlier in the day, three were reported on Friday night, as the state recorded the highest number of cases in a single day.

Hours after the Prime Minister spoke to him, favouring strict enforcement of lockdown, Palaniswami ordered fresh curbs to ensure people stay indoors and stepped up measures to tackle the scourge by appointing 500 plus doctors, besides other healthcare professionals in State-run hospitals.

As per his directive, effective Sunday, grocery shops, vegetable markets and petrol pumps will remain only from 6 am to 2.30 pm.

Trucks ferrying vegetables and fruits from within and outside Tamil Nadu should offload them between 6 PM and 6 AM am in the respective wholesale markets.

The prohibitory orders, though do not apply to incidents like death and it should be ensured that the number of participants does not exceed 20 people, the government said.

Food delivery aggregators will be allowed deliver food between 7 am to 9.30 am, between noon and 2.30 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm as a special case.

Pharmacies and restaurants will be open through the day. Eateries could however only cater to take away orders and not allow dine-in amenities, the government said.

The CM also said 500-plus doctors have been freshly appointed and ordered recruiting 200 doctors and an equal number of nurses, 100 paramedics and 180 sanitary workers at Omandurar Estate Government Medical College Hospital here,now a designated 500 bed facility to treat COVID-19 patients.

The State police said 3,024 FIRs have been filed and 1,924 vehicles seized for lockdown violations across Tamil Nadu, while the state government invited donations to the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund to meet the expenditure for activities aimed at tackling COVID-19.

To cater to the expected high number of infections, substantial funding resources are needed for a variety of requirements including diagnostic equipment, ventilators, beds, isolation and quarantine facilities, the government said, adding it was seeking support to tackle the situation.

"Workers in agriculture, construction and several other unorganised sectors are facing daily wage losses. Help is (also) needed for providing food for poor and the destitute."

Local authorities continued to carry out massive disinfection exercises in their regions.

Of the six new cases reported earlier, five contracted the infection through contact with those who tested positive for the coronavirus, government had said.

Of the three new cases reported tonight one was a 73 year old woman, a city resident, who has been admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital here.

The other was a 61-year-old male contact of Indonesian nationals and he has been admitted at the Salem Government Medical College.

The third was a 39-year old man, also a city resident, who has been admitted at Kilpauk Government Hospital.

The National Health Mission-Tamil Nadu confirmed the new cases.

A senior health official said the 38 cases included a man who has been discharged and another who died.

The Prime Minister earlier in the day told Palaniswami to strictly enforce the three- week national lockdown declared to check the spread of the virus and ensure availability of essential commodities for the people.

In a telephonic conversation, Modi said prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and social distancing should be rigidly enforced.

Modi sought to know from the Chief Minister about the coronavirus preventive measures undertaken by government departments in the state and was apprised about the steps being taken, an official release said

The state government, which on Thursday announced the shutdown till March 31, extended it till April 14 in sync with the national lockdown announced by the Prime Minister.

Palaniswami later chaired a meeting of top officials, following which he said steps were on to fill openings in the health department and that appointment orders were being given to 1,508 lab technicians, 530 doctors and 1,000 nurses following recruitment by Medical Services Recruitment Board.

All of them have been advised to join duty in three days, he said, adding that directions had been issued to operationalise 200 new ambulances.

The COVID-19 control room in the Secretariat will be strengthened as the apex control centre to coordiate all control rooms in the State, the chief Minister said.

He urged those who returned from abroad after February 15 to home quarantine themselves voluntarily.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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