The Tamil Nadu government appealed to the members of public who arrive from various countries, including African nations, to report to the local health officer if they have any symptoms of monkeypox, a top official said on Sunday.
Health Department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan said it was due to the strong monitoring mechanism that has been put up in place by the government, it was able to detect Covid-19 cases besides containing its spread. "We have received the interim guidelines from the Centre on the monkeypox disease. That is people arriving from African countries or Europe, Australia, Canada, and the USA, though did not show any symptom at the airport, but developed some symptoms within 21 days of their arrival, they have to report it to the local health official," he told reporters after inspecting the district government hospital here.
People should be cautious and adhere to the Covid-19 protocols laid out by the government, he said. "We have been told that the disease will not be severe, but we have to be careful to prevent it. So far, no cases related to monkeypox have been reported in the country," he said.
Noting that the Health Department has strengthened the medical infrastructure in Tamil Nadu, he said it was due to the strong monitoring mechanism the government was able to identify cluster of virus cases that were reported in the State. "Earlier, we detected cluster of virus cases on the IIT-Madras campus and later in another private medical college. Now, we have detected another cluster at an private engineering college at Kelambakkam in the city. All the 31 cases reported identified are doing well," he said.
Radhakrishnan said the students who tested Covid-19 positive on the campus of IIT Madras and at the private medical college have "fully recovered."
To a query, he said 410 students were checked at the private engineering college and 31 have tested Covid-19 positive till date. "What these incidents at the educational institutions indicate is that when the virus is waning in the State, we are giving an opportunity for it to grow by not following the Covid-19 behaviour," he said.
Strongly advocating vaccination as it was the only mechanism to prevent the spread of virus, he said there were 1.21 crore people who were yet to receive the second dose of vaccination while 43.45 lakh have taken the first. "Another 13 lakh people are eligible to receive booster dose and are yet to receive it," he said. "Chief Minister (M K Stalin) has been directing the authorities to strengthen the medical infrastructure. We have also strengthened the testing facilities. What we urge people is that they should wear a face-mask while in public, maintain social distance and take the vaccine," he said.
Tamil Nadu has been reporting a decline in new Covid-19 cases on account of vaccination, adherence to Covid-19 behaviour while in public, he said. Referring to the status of virus cases in neighbouring States, Radhakrishnan said Kerala was reporting over 700 cases while Karnataka reporting over 150 cases on a daily basis. "Mumbai is recording 350 cases daily, while, overall, Maharashtra as a State, recorded over 500 per day. Tamil Nadu recorded its lowest on April 15 with 22 cases and Chennai 12, but now the metro is reporting 30-40 cases. This shows that we should stay alert," he said.