Tamil Nadu has reported a sharp rise in Omicron cases with 76 new infections, taking the total in the state to 120.

Empty Chennai streets during lockdownImage for representation/PTI
news COVID-19 Saturday, January 01, 2022 - 12:37

In light of the increasing number of Omicron cases being reported in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has imposed fresh restrictions against COVID-19 from January 1 until January 10. The existing ban on public gatherings will continue to be in place. Physical classes for students up to eighth grade will not be held till January 10, the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement on Friday, December 31. Playschools and nurseries will also not be allowed to function till then, the statement said.

Commercial establishments will be permitted entry for only 50% of the capacity and only 100 people will be allowed to attend marriage functions. The attendance at funerals will be restricted to 50. All kinds of exhibitions and book fairs will be postponed and social, cultural, and political gatherings will be restricted. The Chief Minister in the statement said that dine-in services at restaurants will be allowed with 50% occupancy. Students of Classes 9 to 12 will be allowed to attend physical classes.

Hostels, lodges, gyms can function only with 50% of customers, the statement said. Tamil Nadu reported a sharp increase in the number of Omicron infections, with 76 new cases. With this, the state’s total number of Omicron cases is now at 120.

Health minister Ma Subramanian, while speaking to IANS, said: "Of the fresh 76 Omicron cases, 63 are in Chengalpattu, one each in Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvallur, Trichy and Ranipet districts of the state. The Health Department is monitoring the situation closely and the Chief Minister is taking periodical reviews and if there are more restrictions required, we will have to implement them. The Union health department is also in touch with the state health officials and I have already spoken to the Union health minister and apprised him of the situation in the state."

Read: Tamil Nadu sees 76 new Omicron cases, Health Min says sign of community transfer

The Greater Chennai Corporation would be conducting random tests for students of schools and colleges for early detection of cases to prevent the spread of the disease.

A senior official with the Tamil Nadu State Public Health department said that the community spread of Omicron variant is already on and that adequate measures have to be taken to contain it.

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