The lockdown in Tamil Nadu will be extended for one more week from May 24 until May 31. The announcement was made on Saturday by Chief Minister MK Stalin after a meeting with the state governmentâ€™s expert panel earlier on Saturday. Tamil Nadu has been in lockdown from May 10.
The extension of the lockdown will see no relaxation, with only emergency services allowed to function during the period. Grocery stores will remain shut during the week starting May 24. However, shops will be allowed to remain open until 9pm on May 22 and May 23 to allow people to stock up for the week-long total lockdown. Public transport will also be allowed to operate during the weekend.
MK Stalin held meetings with the government-constituted panel of doctors and public health experts and with the multi-party group of MLAs to deliberate on the COVID-19 situation in the state. In these meetings, it is understood that the Chief Minister discussed the possibility of extending the lockdown for more time in order to bring COVID-19 situation in the state under control. While the expert panel recommended an extension of the lockdown with strict restrictions, the multi-party MLA group also supported the panelâ€™s recommendations.
According to a press statement issued by the Chief Ministerâ€™s office, during the extended lockdown only the following activities will be permitted:
- Pharmacies, country-medicine shops and veterinary pharmacies.
- Distribution of milk, drinking water and newspapers.
- Vegetables and fruits will be available to people on vehicles under the auspices of the state horticulture department.
- Only essential departments will function in the Secretariat and other district administration offices.
- E-commerce is allowed between 8 am and 6 pm.
- No changes in the existing timings for restaurants and related delivery services like Swiggy and Zomato.
- Petrol pumps.
- Movement of agricultural inputs and produce.
- Goods vehicles are allowed to ply.
- Inter-district travel is allowed by e-registration only for emergency medical purposes and deaths.
- No need for e-registration to travel within the district for emergency medical purposes.
- Journalists and media.
As of Saturday, shops selling essential items like vegetables, provisions in Tamil Nadu are allowed to function only between 6 am and 10 am from Monday to Saturday. Dine in services are banned in restaurants and only parcel services are permitted, that too within specific timings. Tea shops and other shops are not allowed to function. Public transport is also non-operational except for essential services personnel and e-registration has been made mandatory to travel within districts in Tamil Nadu.
On Friday, Tamil Nadu reported 36,184 new COVID-19 cases and 467 deaths. The state had tested 1,74,112 samples on Friday. The number of persons undergoing treatment for COVID-19 as of Friday evening in Tamil Nadu is 2,74,629.