Lockdown begins in Chennai, 3 districts today; surge in cases

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Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published: June 19, 2020 2:30:58 am

On June 21 and June 28, there will be a complete lockdown without any relaxation. (PTI)

With the number of Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu crossing the 50,000-mark and Chennai alone reporting over 35,000 cases, the state government has directed authorities to be stringent in implementing the 12-day lockdown which begins Friday in Chennai and three neighbouring districts.

In Chennai city alone, about 18,000 policemen will be deployed to handle the situation and city police commissioner C K Viswanathan said people are not allowed to use private vehicles unless for a medical emergency.

Tamil Nadu on Thursday reported 2,141 new cases and 49 deaths. In Chennai, the case count climbed to 37,070 and the death toll to 501.

A special notification issued by state Chief Secretary K Shanmugam Wednesday night said Chennai and the neighbouring districts of Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram will have to face an intense lockdown because of an increase in Covid-19 cases “due to the large urban population and also the fact that in many zones the houses are located in close proximity and the average living space is also small”.

The announcement was followed by traffic congestion on GST road, connecting Chennai with southern regions. While about two lakh applications have been filed in the last two weeks, seeking permission to travel to other districts from Chennai, many have been rejected to prevent the possible spread of the disease.

Many people tried to go out of Chennai without passes and by taking interior roads. Over 100 vehicles have been seized and many have been sent back to Chennai from check posts, said a senior officer. “We had to stop dozens of two-wheeler riders and cars going out of Chennai to buy liquor. But there were many families, with or without passes, leaving the city in ahead of the lockdown. Some of them were allowed to travel as there were elders and children on board. Many have been sent back,” an officer said.

During the 12-day lockdown, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said, Amma Canteens will continue to provide free food in Chennai and suburban regions.

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