The press room of Tamil Nadu Secretariat has been closed for disinfection after a television journalist tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday. The disinfection process began on Monday morning.
A Secretariat beat reporter who is working with a Tamil television news channel in Chennai tested positive last week. The reporter was covering the Secretariat, said sources.
Till now, as many as 100 Secretariat staff working in the Fort St George premises tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The disinfection process was carried out on June 13 and June 14 in the Secretariat building.
The Tamil Nadu Secretariat turned a hotspot for COVID-19 after relaxation in lockdown rules post May 18, when 50% of government employees returned to their offices. The Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association said that employees travel in the buses arranged by the government and the overcrowding in the buses was also a cause for infection among the people.
In a letter accessed by TNM, the Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association on June 5 wrote to the state government demanding them to allow only 33% of employees to work from offices as against 50%. The association also sent a letter with eight demands including creating ventilation in the building since air conditioners are not being used in the offices.
The association said that the Secretariat employees who test positive for coronavirus and undergo treatment should be provided special casual leave.
A camera person from the Department of Information and Public Relations who covered the Chief Ministerâ€™s press meet in Salem also tested positive for coronavirus, according to reports. The person traveled from Chennai to cover the event in Salem and is undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Salem.
On Sunday, Tamil Nadu recorded 1,974 new cases taking the total number of COVID-19 patients in the state to 44,661. Out of this, 31,896 are from Chennai. With cases continuing to rise in Chennai and its neighbouring districts, the government on Monday announced a complete lockdown in Chennai and parts of Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram to contain the spread of virus.