The Koyambedu market cluster is among the three main active COVID-19 clusters in the city of Chennai and according to Special Zonal Officer J Radhakrishnan of Greater Chennai Corporation, as of May 13, a total of 2,600 COVID-19 patients, spread across Tamil Nadu, have been traced to this cluster.
Tamil Nadu has registered a total of 9,227 COVID-19 cases as on date and Koyambedu market cluster makes up 28.18% of this total. A total of 961 patients in Chennai have been infected by directly visiting the market or by getting in contact with someone from the market. This accounts for 18.26% of the cityâ€™s total number of cases. As of April 13, Chennai has a total number of 5,262 cases, of which 4,470 are active.
Around the end of April, Chennai began witnessing the emergence of a new hotspot of novel coronavirus infection transmission. By the start of May, this cluster had taken bigger proportions, with persons being infected not just in the city but in districts as far as Perambalur and Ariyalur, several kilometres south of Chennai. Other than this, around 11 people in Kerala and 82 people in Andhra Pradesh have links to the Koyambedu market. They had either ttavelled to the market or were contacts of those who did.
Koyambedu market cluster has now become a source of controversy in the state, especially due to the wave of infection it has led to. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palaniswami during his press meet on Wednesday, held the market vendors responsible for the scale of infection the state is witnessing at present.
Blaming market vendors for not cooperating with the government when it suggested decentralisation of the market, he said, â€śThey did not wish to go to the market set-up by the government outside the city. The Chief Secretary held a talk with them on April 6, asking them to stand by the governmentâ€™s decision to shift to the temporary market and avoid infection spread. However, trade representatives refused to accept it citing fears of business loss.â€ť
Tamil Nadu reported a big spike in the number of COVID-19 cases on May 4, the day the Koyambedu market too was shut, reporting 527 cases in one day. The press bulletin from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare noted that a large number of cases reported that day were linked to the market. Since then, the state has been reporting over 500 cases on an average, every day.