Tamil Nadu declares intense lockdown in five cities including Chennai from Sunday

Tamil Nadu has declared an intense lockdown in five cities from Sunday to break the chain of transmission of the highly contagious novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 1,600 people in the state so far and killed at least 20, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said this on Friday afternoon.
A four-day intense shutdown has been declared in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore from Sunday 6 am, which will continue till 9 pm on Wednesday. In Tirupur and Salem, restrictions will be intensified for three days, starting 6 am on Sunday till 9 pm on Tuesday, Palaniswami said.
Under this intense lockdown, people would not be able to step out of their house even to buy groceries as grocery and vegetable shops – which were allowed to stay open from 6 am to 1 pm earlier – will be shut. Takeaway from restaurants will also not be allowed to restrict movement of people and ensure social distancing.
The chief minister assured people that vegetables and fruits shall reach their doorsteps via mobile outlets. “To vend vegetables and fruits, only mobile outlets shall be allowed,” Palaniswami said.
During these days of intensified lockdown, disinfection tasks will be carried out twice in containment zones and only government-run Amma canteens that provide food at subsidised rates, ATMs, hospitals, labs, pharmacies and allied services like ambulances shall be functional.
Community kitchens, non-profits, caregivers for elderly and differently-abled are also allowed to function.
Banks and Central government offices are allowed only 33 per cent of employees during these four days. While employees in sectors like information technology could work from home, other private sector firms shall remain closed, the government said.
A case will be filed against those violating the shutdown and their vehicles would be impounded, the chief minister said.
Most COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu – one of the states worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the country – have been reported from the five cities where the intense lockdown has been announced. While Chennai alone has 400 cases, Coimbatore has 134 and Tirupur has 110.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on the COVID-19 situation in the state as Palaniswami sought more testing kits for Tamil Nadu.
India is under a lockdown since March 25 to tackle the spread of coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 700 people in India, infected more than 23,000. The government on Monday eased restrictions in non-containment zones to give a boost to economic activity in line with PM Modi’s call last week.