'Don't travel to neighbouring states unless necessary'

Don't travel to neighbouring states unless necessary, TN Health Minister to people

Most of large shopping malls located in the famous Pondy Bazaar area have been asked to shut temporarily. (Credit: Twitter/@airnewsalerts)

Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijaya Baskar on Wednesday appealed to people not to take up travel to neighbouring states unless necessary as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

He said the department was having more than five lakh masks and an additional 25 lakh masks were in pipeline.

After jointly reviewing the measures taken at a government bus terminus along with his cabinet colleague and and transport minister M R Vijayabhaskar, he said there was no necessity to wear the masks at this point of time.

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"If you look at us I am not wearing a mask nor the Minister (M R Vijayabhaskar) or any of us because the situation does not require it. However, people can cooperate by not taking up journeys unless necessary," he told reporters.

The health minister said the government has declared holidays for institutions because people have been advised not to gather in large numbers.

"It will be better for them if they avoid taking up travel to public places. We are also requesting them not to take up journeys to neighbouring states since screening of people at railway stations and airports will be easier," he said.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Neighbouring Karnataka and Kerala have a majority of the positive coronavirus cases among the southern states.

The number of the novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 147 on Wednesday, with 10 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country, according to the Union health ministry.

With the state government declaring holidays for educational institutions till March 31 and directed closure of shopping malls and theatres, most of the arterial roads in city wore a deserted look for the second day.

Most of large shopping malls located in the famous Pondy Bazaar area have been asked to shut temporarily.

Also Read: Coronavirus FAQs: All you need to know about the new pandemic COVID-19

Transport minister M R Vijayabhaskar said managing directors of government transport undertakings and omni bus operators took part in the meeting.

The transport corporations were directed to ensure disinfectants are sprayed at the bus terminals on a daily basis and drivers are asked to wear masks while on duty.

"While buses from neighbouring states are cleaned at our bus terminals, we have requested the governments of neighbouring states to sanitise our buses upon their arrival to control spread of the virus," he said.

To a query, he said issue of driving licences and learner's licences have been halted at regional transport offices till March 31.

He said supply of blankets in air-conditioned buses have been temporarily withdrawn and appealed passengers to bring their own blankets.

Meanwhile, Southern Railway said it was cancelling 16 trains including special trains due to poor patronage following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Chennai Central-Tirupati Express trains were cancelled till March 31.

The other special trains that have been cancelled are --Hyderabad-Ernakulam Junction Special Train, Hyderabad- Tiruchirappalli special train, Sambalpur-Banaswadi Special Train, Chennai Central-Secunderabad, Thiruvananthapuram-Dr MGR Chennai Central Special Train, Southern Railway said in a release.

Ernakulam junction-Rameswaram special train and Villupuram-Secunderabad special train were also cancelled, the release said. 

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