Tamil Nadu extends covid-induced lockdown by another week

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced extending the ongoing covid-induced lockdown, slated to end on May 24, by another week. Chief Minister M K Stalin announced the government”s decision after holding discussions with a medical panel and a legislature committee comprising of members from all parties on Saturday, besides with officials.

“To control the spread of the pandemic, the ongoing lockdown will be implemented from May 24 for another week without any relaxations,” Stalin said in a statement. The restrictions will come into effect from Monday. Accordingly, for people”s benefit shops will remain open till 9 pm on Saturday and from 6 am to 9 pm on Sunday, when otherwise a day-long total shutdown will be in place, he added. Further, inter-district bus services will be operated on Saturday and Sunday.

Pharmacies can remain open during the extended lockdown while distribution of milk, water and newspapers can continue. The state horticulture department will ensure supply of vegetables and fruits through mobile outlets in the city and elsewhere in association with local bodies, Stalin said, adding only essential departments will function in the state Secretariat and the districts. Private firms, IT companies and banks should ensure work from home concept while e-commerce services can be operated from 6 am to 8 pm.

Restaurants and eateries can sell only takeaway services from 6 am-10 am, 12-3 pm and 6-9 pm and e-commerce food supply firms will also be allowed to operate only during this schedule, Stalin said. Fuel outlets, ATMs will be open and inter-district travel for valid medical reasons and deaths alone will be allowed after e-registration. There was no need for such a registration for intra- district movement for medical reasons, he added.

Continuous process industries and those manufacturing essential commodities and medical equipment will be allowed to function as per existing guidelines. Calling for public cooperation to the government”s efforts to stem the spread of the virus, Stalin urged people to follow due protocol like social distancing and wearing of masks. He pointed out that the state had reported about 36,000 new covid infections on Friday while the active cases stood at around 2.74 lakh.

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