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COVID-19: Tamil Nadu Locks Down Major Districts As Situation Deteriorates, Should Other Hotspots Follow Suit? Doctors Speak

As Tamil Nadu reimposes a lockdown in the urban areas, Doctors talk about how other states with massive number of COVID-19 cases can follow the strategy

COVID-19: Tamil Nadu Locks Down Major Districts As Situation Deteriorates, Should Other Hotspots Follow Suit? Doctors Speak
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has announced ‘maximised restricted lockdown’
  • The nation-wide lockdown delayed the peak of COVID-19 patients: Doctors
  • If we plan another lockdown, it has to be area-specific: Doctors

New Delhi: With more than 46,000 confirmed cases, Tamil Nadu is the second worst-hit state by COVID-19 in India. According to the State Health Department data, Tamil Nadu has a total of 48,019 positive COVID-19, of which 25,344 people have recovered while 20,678 cases remain active and 479 people succumbed to the infection. A significant number of these active cases are from the urban areas of the state, therefore to control the situation, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced ‘maximised restricted lockdown’ in these areas. The lockdown is extended from June 19-30 in areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur districts which come under Metropolitan Chennai Police limits.

Furthermore, CM Palaniswami has also ordered a complete lockdown on two Sundays – June 21 and 28 from Saturday midnight to 6 am on Monday, the order read.

Also Read: Delayed Admissions And Lack Of Healthcare Workers, Doctors Talk About The Challenges Faced By Hospitals In Tackling COVID-19

As per the guidelines issued by the state government, all hospitals and labs will continue to work. However, cabs and auto-rickshaws will not be allowed to ply, but these services can be availed for any emergency needs. The state and Central government offices will function with 33 per cent workforce. Employees, who come from containment zones, can stay at their homes, the government has announced.

All Public Distribution System (PDS) shops, except those inside containment zones, will continue to function from 8 am to 2 pm. Grocery, provision, petrol bunks can function from 6 am to 2 pm and people are advised to buy all essential commodities from within two km radius of their home. Hotels will be allowed to function from 6 am to 8 pm for parcel services alone, while shops that sell essential items and fuel filling stations will remain functional from 6 am to 2 pm, the guidelines read.

NDTV reached out to Dr Mohamed Rela, Chairman of Dr Rela Institute & Medical Centre – Multispeciality Hospital in Chennai to know his opinion on the latest lockdown in the state. Dr Rela lauded the first edition of the lockdown and said that the extended lockdown might be of an advantage for Tamil Nadu. He said,

I believe that the early lockdown that was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a huge advantage to our country. The reason is that it actually delayed the peak of COVID-19 patients significantly. Also, this helped us avoid a much serious issue like the ones being faced by Italy and the United Kingdom in my opinion. But if things do get out of control now, if the numbers go up and health system has difficulties in coping, it may be an advantage to impose a lockdown again, so you can actually flatten the peak once again. We flattened the peak at the beginning of the lockdown and I think the lockdown delayed everything for India by 6-8 weeks. now we are staring at a peak again and I think the extended lockdown announced in Tamil Nadu may be an advantage to slightly reduce the peak, so that we can cope if things get worse.

Also Read: In The Size Of 22 Football Fields, Delhi Gets The World’s Largest COVID-19 Care Facility, With Recyclable Beds

NDTV also asked Dr Anjan Trikha from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) if we should consider an extended lockdown in other badly hit states like Delhi and Maharashtra. Dr Trikha said while as a doctor he can only speak in terms of health and not economy, a city-specific lockdown might help the situation in Delhi if we know our ‘goals’. He explained,

As a doctor, I can’t speak in terms of economy, and some experts who can balance the economy with health should take an appropriate call on it. However, I think that a city-wide lockdown, if not state, can really help the situation in Delhi. The first lockdown was planned and it was a huge success. We have to remember that we are dealing with a disease about which we do not know anything. We know a little better now, but back when the lockdown was imposed, we didn’t know anything. Even now, every day new aspects of the virus are coming up. If at all we plan the second lockdown, it has to be area-specific one and we should have clear cut aims and guidelines. We should know that if we have a lockdown – what do we wish to achieve, what are we going to do, till when are we going to achieve it – because we can’t be going on and on with an indefinite lockdown.

While Tamil Nadu has the second-highest positive cases in the state, with about 107,958 cases Maharashtra is home to the most number of cases and at 41,182 cases, Delhi stands at third worst hit state by COVID-19 in the country. On Friday (June 12) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that there is no plan of imposing a lockdown again in the state government’s pipeline. Similarly, on Monday (June 15) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that ‘there is no question’ of a lockdown in the National Capital.

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