Madurai

COVID-19 cases increase sharply in southern districts

Tourists in a packed ferry to Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanniyakumari on Sunday.  

With COVID-19 cases increasing rapidly in southern districts, mainly due to violation of protocols issued by the State government, the official machinery has started cracking the whip against defaulters.

Tirunelveli district, which recorded 261 new cases between April 10 and 11, is witnessing increasing admissions to hospitals. As the trend shows greater influx of fresh cases in the coming days, Collector V. Vishnu has alerted police, revenue, public health and local administration departments to act tough against those violating COVID-19 norms.

Accordingly, officials take action against those who roam around without masks and do not maintain physical distancing. After three of its salesmen tested positive, a leading textile showroom here downed its shutters on Monday and began disinfection measures.

Also, COVID-19 care centres have been opened at 10 places across the district.

In Kanniyakumari district, tourists who arrived at the boat jetty to board ferries to Vivekananda Rock Memorial on Sunday, were allowed to buy tickets without their body temperature being checked. Poompuhar Shipping Corporation personnel posted there did not carry thermal scanner.

After the visitors were asked to wear life jackets heaped in a basket, they were allowed to board the crowded ferry. “There is no measure in place to sanitise the used life jackets. No one is bothered about physical distancing during the brief sail to the memorial as officials do not press tourists to strictly follow COVID-19 norms,” said P. Bala Ganesan, a visitor from Thoothukudi.

Photos showing the crowded boats were sent to Collector M. Aravind through WhatsApp and he warned Corporation staff to adhere to COVID-19 norms.

Mr. Aravind had a meeting with heads of educational institutions on Monday to brief them about the situation prevailing in the district and the need for strictly following the norms.

Ex-MLA tests positive

Former Colachel MLA Era. Bernard, 80, tested positive on Monday. He was admitted to a private hospital in Vadaserry

“We have slapped fine on 2,647 people amounting to ₹5,29,400 for not wearing masks and on 52 persons totalling ₹26,000 for not maintaining physical distancing on Sunday alone,” said S. Jayakumar, Superintendent of Police, Thoothukudi.

Corporation staff also conduct surprise checks in public places and slap spot fines.

However, buses are still crowded . “If the government is keen on curbing the number of passengers, additional buses should be operated,” say TNSTC bus drivers and conductors.

TNSTC sources said 40 additional buses were operated on Monday on busy routes.

Collector K. Senthil Raj has appealed to the public not to come to Governagiri to celebrate the birth anniversary of martyr Sundaralingam. He would offer floral tributes to the late freedom fighter at his memorial on Friday.

In Tenkasi, 690 persons were fined ₹1,38,600 for not wearing masks on Sunday and ₹1,52,200 was collected as fine from 728 persons on Saturday.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 10:02:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/covid-19-cases-increase-sharply-in-southern-districts/article34303410.ece

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