Virus alert: eight clusters identified, access points sealed

25-30 people deployed in each cluster to check symptomatic cases

Published - April 03, 2020 11:12 pm IST - CHENNAI

Chennai, 03/04/2020 :  The Pudupet area is fully sealed after 5 persons were found affected with Coronavirus on Friday.   Photo : S. R. Raghunathan

Chennai, 03/04/2020 : The Pudupet area is fully sealed after 5 persons were found affected with Coronavirus on Friday. Photo : S. R. Raghunathan

The Chennai Corporation has identified eight hotspot clusters in the city where multiple COVID-19 cases have been reported, and imposed strict restrictions on the movement of residents and traders in these areas.

On Friday, the clusters were sealed by authorities and barricades placed at various entry points to prevent movement of vehicles. Uniformed police personnel began guarding vantage points to ensure that residents did not venture out of their houses, even for buying essential commodities.

The Corporation has deployed 25 to 30 people in each cluster to identify symptomatic cases. “Once the symptomatic cases are identified, the doctors will come in. The person will be given an option to go to a private hospital. If not, the doctors will make arrangements for an ambulance to take them to government hospitals. Baseline data in hotspot clusters have been generated and more than 150 persons with symptoms have been admitted to hospitals,” said an official.

According to the government’s medical bulletin, 78 cases have been reported in Chennai Corporation limits till now. On April 2, 20 new patients and on April 3, 35 tested positive. Many of the new positive cases reported in the clusters had attended the Nizamuddin event held recently, the police said.

In a cluster where five cases were reported, a police officer said, “The entire area is under quarantine. We follow standard protocols. It is more vulnerable, as the area is densely populated.”

“It is stressful for us, we cannot step out of our houses. In the morning, a couple of vegetable vendors opened their shops until 9 a.m. People are not allowed to walk on the streets,” said a resident from a cluster in the heart of the city.

Each hotspot cluster will have more than 50,000 residents. Some clusters have a significantly higher number of residents, civic officials said. Government agencies, however, are yet to make arrangements for supply of essentials in the clusters, officials said. Residents have requested officials to make arrangements for the supply of essentials.

On Friday, many of the bank branches in a few of these clusters were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We have requested the officials to close bank branches in all the eight hotspot clusters. Angry customers are demanding services, increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread,” said an official of a public sector bank.

Following a request from the lead district manager of banks in Kancheepuram district, 23 bank branches in Theradi area and Gandhi Road in Kancheepuram were closed till April 14 after the first case of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu. “Similarly, officials in Chennai should also close all bank branches in the hotspot clusters,” added the bank official.

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