Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami during his press briefing on Friday firmly denied that the government is planning on implementing a stricter lockdown in the state. “The news that the Tamil Nadu government is planning on announcing another lockdown is false. I saw that a message in my name is being spread on WhatsApp. We have not issued any such announcement. Legal action will be taken against those spreading this false message,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu government also responded to the Madras High Court’s suo moto question, and said that it does not have any plans to implement lockdown in Chennai or in any other part of Tamil Nadu. A division bench of justices Vineet Kothari and R Suresh Kumar had asked the state government on Thursday if the state had any special plans to implement complete lockdown or curfew to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease in Chennai and surrounding areas.
The Chief Minister’s statement comes a few days after it was widely speculated by many on social media that the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in particular in the state, would warrant the TN government to announce a stricter lockdown. As of June 11 evening, Tamil Nadu has over 38,000 COVID-19 cases with over 27,000 from Chennai alone.
The Chief Minister continued to maintain that the high density of population in Chennai is the only reason for the increased spread of COVID-19. “Chennai is a region with a high density of population. There are at least 87 lakh people living here. We have narrow streets that are only five to six feet wide and seven to eight people live in the same house. This is the reason for the spread of the disease,” he said.
Stressing the need to follow safety protocols, the Chief Minister said, “People have still not understood the seriousness of this situation. Sadly, even on my way here I saw that people were not wearing face masks."
He added that schools will be opened after containing the spread of the virus. “All decisions regarding the reopening of schools will be made only after we reduce the spread of this virus,” he said.