With Tamil Nadu witnessing a continuous spike in positive cases, the government is gearing up for further extensive measures. The cases have increased to 13,967 on May 21, an increase of 4,293 cases in the last seven days. Chennai continues to be the worst affected town with a total of 8,795 cases.
Even though the number of testing labs have been increased to 66 from 58 on May 15, the number of tests remain low, with lesser than 13,000 tests over the last seven days. The number of active cases in the state stands at 7,588 as of May 21. The total discharges from the state after recovery is 6,272.
The Health Department and Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) have envisaged a micro plan to intensify testing in the city. Meanwhile, the government has demanded not to restart flight operations in the state till May 31.
There has been an almost 30% increase in the number of positive cases in the last seven days. The week also saw 28 people succumbing to the viral infection. More than 500 cases were reported on four days during the past week starting May 15.
CHENNAI CONTINUE TO PILE CASES
The tall claims of quarantine facilities have come under question, as asymptomatic patients in Chennai are discharged from hospitals and are advised to remain in isolation at home. The availability of number of beds and ventilators have been removed from the daily bulletin, which were once proudly claimed as achievements by the government of Tamil Nadu.
The neighbouring districts of Chennai - Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur have 655 and 636 positive cases so far, respectively. The impact of the cases from the Koyambedu market continues in these districts along with Cuddalore and Ariyalur.
The state continues to do higher number of tests, but not on par with the increasing number of labs. The state has 42 government and 25 private testing labs now. But the tests continue to remain more or less constant over the last ten days, decreasing on several days.
MICRO-PLAN FOR CHENNAI
Chennai city continues to pile up the COVID-19 cases, with three zones of the GCC contributing more than 1,000 cases each. Royapuram, Kodambakkam and Thiru Vi Ka Nagar have reported 1,699, 1,231 and 1,032 cases, respectively. Six other zones of total 16 zones of the corporation have more than 350 cases.
Considering the spike in the three zones which house 34 wards, the administration has charted out a micro-plan for the zones. ‘Namma Chennai COVID Virattum Thittam’ was launched by the health minister in which 500 officials will concentrate on these regions. The team also includes 120 health inspectors to carry out the testing exercise. The plan includes distribution of medical kit including herbal drink ‘Kabasura kudineer’, zinc and multivitamin tablets to each household.
IMPORTED CASES INCREASE
The state government has also requested the union government not to restart the flight operations till May 31. The number of returnees from abroad to Chennai and Trichy airports have also added to the tally of the state. A total of 36 have tested positive on entry tests and 25 have tested positive on exit tests so far. The airports have seen 11 flights landing from different parts of the world.
The operation of domestic flights is expected to burden the health department further. However, the demand to postpone flight operations till May 31 has dashed the hopes of people stranded in different parts of the country for the past two months of lockdown.
MORE LIQUOR OUTLETS TO FUNCTION
The state government is also awaiting the Goods and Sales Tax (GST) share from the Union government. Despite repeated pleas and letters written to the prime minister and finance minister, it has not yielded any result so far. To make up for this loss, the state government increased the value added tax on petrol and diesel by Rs 3.25 and Rs 2.50, respectively.
With little revenue generated, the Government of Tamil Nadu have turned the liquor outlets of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC). The outlets were not opened in Chennai and surrounding districts so far, but has been withdrawn now. More outlets will open their shutters in parts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts from May 23.
The initial days saw massive crowds in the outlets, violating physical distancing norms, which have reduced in the last couple of days. The sales have come down, indicating the reduction of revenue for the government.