Fresh COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu for the first time crossed the 3,500 mark in a single day and the cumulative tally breached 70,000 while the toll mounted to 911 with 45 more deaths on Thursday.
The state, which has been focusing on aggressive testing, crossed the ten lakh mark in the number of samples examined so far while the cumulative recoveries almost reached 40,000, a health department bulletin said. As the cases continued to mount, Chief Minister K Palaniswami asserted there was no community transmission and said people should take all precautions including wearing face mask in public places.
He also hit back at DMK president M K Stalin terming as politically motivated his remarks that the state 'wasted' 90- day lockdown.
The 3,509 new cases on Thursday included 1,834 from Chennai, which is also the highest till date, as its share rose to 47,650 in the state's tally of 70,977, the bulletin said.
The state screened 32,543 samples on Thursday, taking the total to 10,08,974. A 31-year old woman was among the dead and 42 of them had co-morbidities whilethe toll climbed to 911, it said.
Chennai, under an intense 12-day lockdown from June 19, alone has sofar reported 694 deaths of which at least three were cross-notified to other places. The number of active cases was 30,064 while 2,236 patients were discharged from various hospitals, taking the cumulative recoveries to 39,999.
The state has been witnessing steady surge in the COVID-19 cases, adding over 48,000 fresh infections this month alone.
"There is no community transmission of coroanvirus in Tamil Nadu," Palaniswami said in Coimbatore, where he held a meeting reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the western district. Dismissing Stalin's criticism of "wasting 90-days of lockdown period and not preventing spreat of virus," he told reporters that only because of the hard work of doctors, nurses and personnel of all government departments, the fatalities and virus spread have been 'curbed'.
On Wednesday, Stalin also had alleged people were leaving Chennai and going to their native places not only due to the spiralling virus cases but also due to lack of support from the government. Hitting out at him, Palaniswami said the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly was commenting as if the virus spread was a phenomenon confined only to Tamil Nadu. Stalin's accusations were politically motivated and false, and he was "not worried" about the people.
"He wants to capture political power and his statements are only aimed at power. In no other state could you find a leader of opposition issuing such statements (during the pandemic)," the chief minister charged. Sarcastically, the Chief Minister asked," he (Stalin) is a national leader. Why is he not talking about cases in Delhi and Maharashtra. Deliberately he is spreading false information in Tamil Nadu everyday."
Asked about some companies resorting to retrenchment of employees citing Covid-19 as a reason, he said the government would look into it if any complaint was received. "If the companies or industries had terminated services in a wrongful manner, appropriate action will be taken," he added.
The Chief Minister, who was in Coimbatore to review development projects and chair a meet with MSME representatives, in a surprise move, boarded a bus and requested passengers to wear masks and maintain distance during an inspection of a terminus.
Palaniswami has been repeatedly appealing to people to toe safety norms to help fight the virus. Meanwhile, nine police personnel tested positive for the virus in Nilgiris District, prompting officials to seal the Kolaikomba police station.