Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Saturday said the ongoing 12-day complete lockdown in Chennai and parts of its three surrounding districts was like a ‘speed breaker’.
When asked if there was a possibility of the current lockdown being extended further, he said, as of now, there are no plans of extending the lockdown.
“The lockdown is like a speed breaker. We have implemented it so that people can stay indoors. This will also help the authorities go door to door, check people for symptoms and if necessary provide them necessary treatment. This lockdown is not to trouble anyone, but to stop the spread of the virus. If those with symptoms go out, it will spread to others as well. If people stay inside during the lockdown, there won’t be a spread of the virus,” Mr. Palaniswami said.
The State government is taking all preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 and the Greater Chennai Corporation has readied 17,500 beds and medical facilities if cases go up.
“Only God knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. This is a new disease for which no cure has been found. But we are treating patients and have shown a recovery rate of 54%,” Mr. Palaniswami said, after visiting a 350-bed hospital facility for COVID-19 set up at the Guru Nanak College in Chennai.
The Chief Minister said the State was ramping up testing and had tested 27,510 samples on Friday. “To date, we have tested 8.27 lakh samples, the highest in India. We are working on increasing the number of tests every day. The Corporation and the Health Department are making arrangements for it,” he said.
Mr. Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu also has the maximum number of testing centres in India, at 83. Of these 45 are government and 38 are private testing centres, he added. He said the government has set up 300 medical centres and is planning to increase them to 450 to check for COVID-19 and other symptoms and provide treatment accordingly.
Reiterating his earlier statement that the virus came to Tamil Nadu from abroad and those who had travelled into the State from outside, he said the government was taking preventive measures. “Despite the spread of the disease, our recovery rate is 54% due to the efforts taken by the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers” Mr. Palaniswami said.
He also asked people to cooperate with government guidelines, maintain physical distancing and wear a mask whenever going outside.
Higher Education Minister’s health
To a question as to whether Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbazhagan was infected by COVID-19, the Chief Minister said, “He himself has given an interview that he does not have it no? What more can I add to that?”