As lockdown without relaxations continued for day two here, Chief Minister K Palaniswami described it as a ‘speed breaker’, saying the curbs were being used to further augment detection of COVID-19 cases in Chennai by conducting more door to door surveys and fever camps.
All measures are in place for both early identification and treatment of people who test positive, he told reporters after inspecting quarantine amenities at Guru Nanak School in Velachery here.
The 12-day lockdown, which came into effect on Friday, is being implemented here and in parts of neighbouring Chengelpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. Only essential services are allowed and vegetable shops and groceries can function only from 6 am to 2 pm.
Ahead of the curbs, relaxations were in place for most segments with the exception of only schools and other educational institutions. While roads were deserted, corporation’s health personnel could be seen going on with their routine exercise of finding out people with symptoms.
Police said action againstviolators of the lockdown continued and their vehicles were being seized. Palaniswami said “The lockdown is like a speed breaker,” adding the curbs were to ensure that people stayed indoors and supported efforts aimed at detecting symptoms and providing treatment, if needed.
The government was using the lockdown period to further augment testing and treatment, he said. “This lockdown is not to trouble anyone, but to stop the spread of the virus. If those with symptoms step out, then it will spread to others as well. If people stay indoors during the lockdown, there wont be spread of the virus,” he said.
The Chief Minister appealed to people to extend their full cooperation to the government’s efforts in combating the virus by wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
He said the government has effectively utilised both the current and previous spells of lockdown to augment detection and treatment of positive virus cases. The fever camps in Chennai have been increased to 527 on Friday from about 350 in the recent past and those having COVID-19 symptoms were being treated, the Chief Minister said. “Only God knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end,” he said when reporters sought to know when the spread would end.
“Neither I nor you know. I am not a doctor. Medical experts, even WHO and the union health ministry say the pandemic will gradually decline and cant be eradicated. The only way out now for us is to exercise self discipline and take precautions,” he said.
About 8.27 lakh samples for COVID-19 have been tested, which was the highest in India, Palaniswami said. Also, Tamil Nadu has 83 testing centres, the highest in the country, with 45 in government and 38 in private sectors.
Asked whether higher education minister KP Anbazhagan was infected with the virus, he shot back asking, “has he not said in an interview that he does not have it? What more can I add to that?”