Extending lockdown will cause economic slowdown, says CM

Palaniswami urges people to follow safety norms

Noting that Tamil Nadu had been under a lockdown for nearly 105 days, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Tuesday hinted that there may not be another shutdown, thereby putting the onus on the public to adhere to safety norms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When asked if there would be another lockdown, he said, “I think there is no chance of it [happening]. It is completely in the hands of the people… If they follow the norms laid down by the government, COVID-19 transmission will decline gradually, and there is a chance that normalcy will return.” He underscored the need for people to wear masks and maintain physical distance and personal hygiene. He was interacting with journalists after inaugurating a COVID-19 facility at the National Institute of Ageing in Guindy, Chennai.

“Livelihood is a big challenge. On the one hand, we need to prevent the spread of the infection. On the other, it is the government’s duty to ensure livelihood of the people. We have been under lockdown for nearly 105 days, and continuing it will affect livelihood and lead to an economic slowdown. That is why we have taken measures to control COVID-19 as much as possible through the lockdown, even while ensuring livelihood of people. It has fetched good results,” he said.

He said the complete lockdown had led to a gradual decline in fresh cases in the Greater Chennai Corporation limits. “Cases have dipped in the last two days. The results will start showing gradually,” he said. He reiterated that there was no community transmission in the State. Mr. Palaniswami said 10,000 persons with COVID-19 symptoms were identified through fever camps in Chennai.

A total of 22,595 beds were ready at government hospitals and 9,073 at private hospitals across the State. In total, there were 31,668 hospital beds in the State, he said.

The COVID-19 facility at the National Institute of Ageing has 750 beds. Mr. Palaniswami said 100 doctors, 90 staff nurses and 100 hospital workers had been posted at the facility.

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