Among those infected were nine returnees from various destinations, while a 13-year-old girl was one of those who succumbed to the virus.

The fresh numbers came just a day after the state touched the peak of 34,875 cases and 365 deaths. Discharges on Thursday numbered 25,368, taking the overall tally to 14,52,283,leaving 2,63,390 active infections.

The new cases today took the total caseload to 17,34,804, while the toll touched 19,131, the health department said in a bulletin. Chennai topped in the number of cases, accounting for 6,073 infections, totalling 4,62,448 till date.

The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 6,105 deaths. Coming behind Chennai in the infection count was Coimbatore with 3,335 cases, Chengalpet with 2,092, Tiruvallur 1,791, Tiruppur 1,581, Erode 1,505, Tiruchirappalli 1,375 Madurai 1,269, Kanyakumari 1,096 and Tuticorin 1,004, Kancheepuram 858 and Cuddalore 854. Krishnagiri, Nagapattinam, Ranipet, Virudhunagar and Tiruvarur reported in excess of 700 cases each, while the rest were spread over 20 districts.

A total of 1.71 lakh samples were tested on Thursday, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 2,57,75,405. Among the 397 fatalities, 97 people, including the teenaged girl, did not have any pre-existing illness, the bulletin said. Meanwhile, health department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan appealed to people to extend their support to the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

“The lockdown has been imposed in Tamil Nadu to cut the virus chain spread. if other states have witnessed a decline in new COVID-19 infections, it is because people there offered their support to the government by staying indoors”, he said.

On the rise in new infections, he said the impact of the total lock-down would be realised during the latter half of this month “The rate at which the infection was spreading, from 25,000 to 30,000 within a day, has reduced now. There are indications in some districts that the virus spread is declining but in some districts it is not”, he said.

In particular, Chennai and some districts have been ‘static’ in terms of new infections over the last few days, he said and asked people in districts like Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin, Madurai to exercise caution due to the high number of cases there.

“People should utilise the lockdown to the fullest to break the virus spread chain. If a place has been declared as a containment zone, people should respect that by staying indoors”, he said.

Tamil Nadu declares Black Fungus as notifiable disease under Epidemic Act

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday declared Black Fungus (mucormycosis) a notifiable disease under the Public Health Act, state’s Health Secy J Radhakrishna said.

“Luckily, we’ve officially only 9 reported cases & all are stable. Now, we’ll also get the data from private hospitals,” Radhakrishna added.

Apart from Tamil Nadu, the Telangana government also declared Black Fungus a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 on Thursday.

All government and private health facilities shall follow guidelines for screening, diagnosis and management of Black Fungus by the union health ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research, it said.

Additionally, the Union Health Ministry has urged states and union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst coronavrus-infected patients.

“This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID 19 patients,” Joint Secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said in the letter.

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