Just days after claiming that the state government had no plans to announce another lockdown in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has declared that Chennai and parts of Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts will go under complete lockdown from June 19 to June 30.
Grocery shops, vegetable shops, petrol bunks, and mobile markets can remain open between 6.00 am and 2.00 pm. People driving to the market in their private vehicles will be allowed to travel only within 2 kms from their house.
The blanket ban will mean that only essential services and travel for medical emergencies will be permitted in the four districts.
Under the National Disaster Management Act of 2005, starting from the midnight of June 19, the lockdown will continue for 12 days until the end of this month.
This decision comes after Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami consulted a panel of medical experts regarding the current situation in Chennai and its neighbouring districts which has seen a growing number of COVID-19 cases deaths over the last month. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar while talking to the media last week had admitted that a lockdown will be announced if the expert panel recommends it.
While the areas under the limits of Greater Chennai city police limits in all four districts will be covered under this lockdown, Thiruvallur municipality, Gummidipoondi, Ponneri, minjur, Poonamallee, Eekadu and Cholavaram in Thiruvallur district will also be covered under the lockdown. In Chengalpattu district, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar towns, Nandivaram, Guduvancheri and Kattankulathur areas will be locked down. In Kancheepuram, only the areas that fall under the limits of the Greater Chennai City police will fall under the new lockdown norms.
Speaking to the media the expert panel stated that they had told the state government that further restrictions were required to control the spread of the virus.
The following will remain functional in these districts:
[NOTE: These relaxations are not applicable on the two Sundays that fall within the complete lockdown period - June 21 and 28. Relaxations will resume from 6.00 am on the following Mondays]
> Hospitals, pharmacies, will remain open, ambulances will be allowed to ply on the road.
> Autos, taxi cabs will be allowed only for medical emergencies.
> State government departments providing essential services like public health, police, etc can be allowed to function with 33% workforce.
> Central government departments can be allowed to function with 33% workforce.
> However, any employee from the containment zone need not go to his/her office. They will have to obtain necessary permits from their department.
> Banks are allowed to function ONLY on June 29 and 30 with 33% workforce. ATMs will continue to be available during this lockdown.
> Public Distribution shops (PDS) will be allowed to remain open between 8.00 am to 2.00 pm. But in containment zones, PDS stores cannot be opened. Ration items and the relief amount will be distributed at the doors of those living in containment areas.
> E-passes will be provided for those people requesting to travel out of Chennai only for events like weddings, deaths and medical emergencies.
> For those coming to these four districts from outside the state through air, trains and ships, the present norms will be applicable.
> Hotels and restaurants are allowed to provide delivery services. Tea shops cannot function. Phone orders and delivery of food will be allowed.
> Grocery shops, vegetable shops, petrol bunks, and mobile markets can remain open between 6.00 am and 2.00 pm. People have been requested not to drive to the market in their private vehicles and instead access shops that are within 2 kms from their house.
> Volunteers helping the old age homes and elderly people will be permitted to travel.
> Amma Unavagams and community kitchens for orphans will continue to function.
> NGOs and other organisations helping people can function with the permission from the concerned government official.
> Print and electronic media can function.
> Judges and Courts are also permitted to function.
> Construction companies providing stay for labourers inside the site can function for the next 12 days.
>Employees of industries staying inside or near a company are allowed to function for the next 12 days, if they undergo a RT PCR test. Employees are not allowed to travel everyday. The Continuous process industries and Industries manufacturing essential commodities can function by taking adequate safety precautions.
>The lorries transporting essentials are allowed to travel.
The move comes at a time when Tamil Nadu has over 44,600 COVID-19 cases, with Chennai accounting for 31,896 patients. Chengalpattu has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases at 2882, while Thiruvallur has 1865 and Kancheepuram has 709 patients. The state has recorded 435 deaths so far, due to COVID-19.
- E-passes will be provided for those people requesting to travel out of Chennai only for events like weddings, deaths and medical emergencies.
- For those coming to these four districts from outside the state through air, trains and ships, the present norms will be applicable.