Corona surge anticipated: Tamil Nadu's big cities to have total curfew for 4 days

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

India, All India

Government opts for tougher measures because spread of epidemic in red zones not yet contained

Health workers take a man's sample as Tamil Nadu intensified testing for coronavirus in Chennai in an effort to contain the virus in red zones in Tamil Nadu's big cities. (PTI)

Chennai: The government of Tamil Nadu on Friday announced that major cities, including Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, will have a total civil curfew for four days beginning this coming Sunday, April 26, to Wednesday, April 29.

During those four days, groceries will not open, and public movement will be curtailed 6 am to 9 pm.

In the smaller municipal corporations of Tirupur and Salem, the total civil curfew will be for three days, beginning Sunday.

The decision to toughen the current lockdown restrictions came after chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami took a review meeting on coronavirus prevalence in the state today.

Tamil Nadu has 1,683 confirmed COVID-19 cases with Chennai topping the list with 400 followed by Coimbatore (134) and Tirupur (110). Madurai and Salem have 52 and 29 cases respectively.

The administration cited the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, in declaring the civil curfew.

The review meeting heard experts saying there would likely be a surge in coronavirus infections in the coming days in densely populated urban clusters of the state.

The meeting noted that the spread of the novel coronavirus has been contained to a significant extent in rural Tamil Nadu, but the pattern was different in the cities.

What will be open?

The essential services exempt from the total civil curfew in the five urban clusters are: hospitals, testing labs, pharmacies, essential services such as ambulances.

Government departments dealing with essential functions including the Secretariat in Chennai, the departments of health and family welfare, public health, police, revenue and disaster management, electricity, Aavin (milk processing apex cooperative society), local bodies and water supply will function, but with a restricted number of employees.

Central government offices, banks and other essential services under the central government may function with one-third of the staff. Also, Amma Canteens and ATMs will function as usual.

The other permitted activities include: Homes for children, aged, destitute, physically-disabled and community kitchens organised by the social welfare department and local bodies.

Palaniswami said NGOs seeking to serve the poor may continue to do so after getting permissions.

The wholesale markets including the Koyembedu vegetable and fruit market will be strictly regulated.  Mobile shops alone will be permitted to take vegetables and fruits to the people at their doorsteps.

Sub-registrar offices will not function during the curfew days.

Plus, restrictions already in force in the various containment zones will be more rigorously applied. Stating that people's movement in the containment zones will be completely stopped, as also vehicular movement, Palaniswami said.