A COVID-19 cluster has emerged in Chennai's Kilpauk as 20 people, who were among those who attended a gathering at a temple in Varadhammal Garden Street, have tested positive for coronavirus, officials in Tamil Nadu said. Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan addressed the media and said despite the state government warning people to remain cautious, over 300 people gathered at the temple, violating COVID-19 guidelines. Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has said that many at the gathering were not vaccinated, and that one of the guests present at the venue has also passed away.
The cluster was identified by the GCC a few days ago, reports The Hindu, after an organiser of the function tested positive. "Even though we asked people to follow rules, in Chennai's Varadhammal Garden Street in the Kilpauk area, 300 people gathered at a temple. Around 24 people have tested positive and one person has passed away," J Radhakrishnan said, holding up a paper explaining how many in the village tested positive because of that one event. According to reports, a 41-year-old woman who was at the gathering has died.
Speaking to The Hindu, GCC officials who visited the area said that 320 samples were collected and so far, 24 have been tested positive for coronavirus. The official added that all patients are being isolated in quarantine centres and have not been allowed to quarantine at home to prevent further infection. Barricades have been set up around the locality where the COVID-19 cluster has been reported. The reports adds that the 24 people who tested positive had received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but not many people who live in the area have been vaccinated.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan urged people to wear masks and maintain distance and follow protocol to ensure that the infection does not spread. He also noted that cases are being reported among people travelling into Tamil Nadu as neighbouring states are also seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Radhakrishnan urged people in Tamil Nadu to celebrate any festivities in solitude during the festive season.
"Coronavirus doesn't differentiate between crowds, whatever be the event, whether a wedding or a birthday or even an office gathering.... officials have been doing the same job of contact tracing and testing for over a year now," he said, urging the public to follow COVID-19 safety protocol and avoid crowding.
The Health Secretary was addressing the media after inspecting the coronavirus emergency ward where 15 beds for children on the campus of the Omandur Medical College Hospital, Chennai, have been set up.
He added that districts like Chennai, Erode, Thanjavur and Pudukkottai have been seeing more cases. ‚ÄúCOVID-19 is most prevalent in Erode, Coimbatore, Karamadai, Pollachi and Mettupalayam. We have advised that vaccination be stepped up in those areas. It is distressing that the number of daily infections is approaching 2000, despite seeing what the impact of the second wave was,‚ÄĚ J Radhakrishnan said.
Tamil Nadu, after witnessing a declining trend, reported a marginal increase in daily COVID-19 infections, as 1,964 cases pushed the caseload to 25,81,094, while 28 more people succumbed to the virus, aggregating to 34,395 overall, the health department said on Wednesday.
Recoveries were lower compared to new infections, with 1,917 people getting discharged in the last 24 hours, aggregating to 25,26,317 leaving 20,382 active cases, a medical bulletin said. New infections in Tamil Nadu were on the declining trend after the state saw a marginal rise in the cases over the last few weeks. On August 10, Tamil Nadu reported 1,893 new infections while on August 9 it was 1,929 and on August 8, it was 1,956.
With PTI inputs