Tamil Nadu extends Covid-19 lockdown till Aug 31

Tamil Nadu extends Covid-19 lockdown till Aug 31, ban on public transport stays

People hold umbrellas distributed by volunteers to maintain social distancing as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Chennai. Credit: AFP

Tamil Nadu government on Thursday extended the Covid-19 lockdown till August 31, giving only a few relaxations like allowing delivery of non-essential goods by e-commerce sites. The ban on public transport has been extended till August 31, while availing of e-pass for inter-district and inter-state travel will continue to be in force.

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In a detailed statement, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a “complete lockdown” during which only essential services would continue to be in force on all Sundays during the month of August across the state.  

In Chennai, restaurants will be allowed to open dine-in facilities at 50 percent of its total capacity from 6 am to 7 pm from August 1, while vegetable shops, grocery outlets and standalone commercial establishments will also be allowed to remain open from 6 am to 7 pm.

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E-commerce sites have been allowed to begin delivery of non-essential goods from August 1, while the ban on public transport, temples in urban areas and towns, cinema halls, shopping malls, and gyms would continue till August 31.

It also said companies or factories in Chennai that have been allowed to function with 50 percent of staff can increase their strength to 75 percent from August 1.

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The government also asked companies to encourage its employees to work from home and advised commercial establishments to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as advised by it. Inter-state or inter-district travel will be allowed only with e-pass, while ban on metro and suburban trains continues.

The decision to extend the lockdown till August 31 comes as Tamil Nadu continues to grapple with an increasing number of coronavirus cases. The prevalence of the virus is no more limited to one city or region of the state with almost all districts reporting fresh cases, some of them over 200 new patients, every day.

On Thursday morning, Tamil Nadu’s Covid-19 tally was 2,34,114 including 1,72,883 discharges and 3,741 deaths. The active cases stood at 57,490.