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COVID-19: Cases swell up in Tamil Nadu, more clarity on Section 144 extension awaited

CHENNAI: The State has decided to extend the restrictions under Section 144 till April 30. This was stated in an order issued by the additional chief secretary on April 4.

However, more clarity is awaited on the matter as the Central government is yet to make any announcement on extending the ongoing nationwide lockdown beyond April 14.

The order also stated that the Revenue and Disaster Management Department will allocate Rs 75.27 crore to provide food for police personnel on duty and another Rs 1 crore for their safety.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the State rose to 571 with 86 new cases confirmed on Sunday. Of the 86, 85 are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat conference in Delhi. The total number of positive cases linked to the Delhi meet is now 522. The State also reported two deaths, taking the number of deaths in TN to five.

Of the deaths reported on Sunday, one was of a 60-year-old man who died in Government Stanley Hospital.

His funeral was conducted without his family which is under quarantine.

The other death was of a 70-year-old man who had returned from Dubai.

He died on Thursday but his test result was reported on Sunday, triggering outrage as his relatives alleged they hadn’t been told he might be a COVID-19 patient.

Following this, the Directorate of Public Health issued fresh guidelines on handling the deaths of patients.

Speaking to reporters of the new cases, Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh said, “Of the 571 cases, eight have been discharged, seven are undergoing treatment in private hospitals and the condition of seven patients is critical. Total 1,246 people who attended Delhi conference were traced so far.”

She added that samples were taken from 650 people with a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and among them, four with contact history were positive. The State is still in Stage-2 of COVID-19 and has enough RT-PCR testing kits. The aim of the government is to set up testing facilities in all medical colleges in the State.

“An expert team constituted by the government is also studying how the virus has progressed in other countries. The team has also projected how the State would fare in a worst-case scenario. The government has also devised short-term and long-term plans,” Dr Rajesh said. She said a population of 38,88,896 was covered under containment plan and 15,000 field workers were engaged in the task.

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