Tamil Nadu

Stalin hints at lockdown extension in Tamil Nadu

Deserted view of Kaliamman Koil Street near Koyambedu in Chennai. File   | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Citing the prediction of medical experts that the daily COVID-19 case count would reach its peak in the next few weeks, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Friday that the lockdown might be extended further with more stringent measures.

Speaking to reporters here, he said it was with the aim of breaking the chain of transmission that his government imposed a total lockdown from May 10. The measure started showing results in Chennai and some other places. But fresh cases were increasing in 10 other districts, he said, adding that medical experts had warned of fresh cases increasing further.

He received representations from people from all walks of life, including industrialists, to extend the lockdown with severe restrictions.

A decision would be taken after discussions with the all-party committee, headed by him, and medical experts in Chennai on Saturday.

Asked whether the State had received the necessary support from the Centre, Mr. Stalin said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on various occasions and highlighted the measures taken to combat the contagion. The Prime Minister had promised him that he would depute Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to coordinate with Tamil Nadu. He was in constant touch with Mr. Goyal. “The Central government, too, faces many problems. We understand it. There is cordiality between the State and the Centre,” he said.

Mr. Stalin, however, said there were some issues in the vaccine supply to the State. There was a mismatch between demand and supply. Steps were being taken to increase the supply. DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Balu had met the Union Ministers concerned in New Delhi and presented memoranda seeking an increase in the oxygen and vaccine supplies to the State.

On oxygen shortage at various hospitals, Mr. Stalin said that when he assumed office on May 7 there was a severe shortage. He had received a number of calls at midnight. About 100 ambulances carrying patients lined up at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai for oxygen beds. The number had been brought down to three or four. The State required 470 metric tonnes of oxygen a day. The units in the State produced 400 metric tonnes a day. The shortage of 70 tonnes was being managed with the life-saving gas sourced from Odisha and other States. The issue would be sorted out within three days.

Mr. Stalin was here to open a COVID Care Centre on the premises of the National Institute of Technology. He came to Tiruchi after inspecting the pandemic management in Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Madurai. He inspected the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital here.

He inaugurated 200 oxygen beds at a COVID-19 health centre on the campus of the Government Hospital for Thoracic Medicine at Thoppur near Madurai.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 12:10:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stalin-hints-at-lockdown-extension-in-tamil-nadu/article34618384.ece

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