Amid a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government has declared holidays for classes 10, 11 and 12 till January 31. Exams had been scheduled for classes 10 and 12 on January 19 and they too stand postponed, according to a press release by the Tamil Nadu government. New dates for the examinations will be announced later.
Tamil Nadu recorded a total of 23,989 new COVID-19 infections and 11 fatalities on Saturday, January 16. This took the total number of cases reported so far to 29,15,948 (29.15 lakh) and the death toll to 36,967. On Friday, there were 23,459 cases and 26 fatalities. Chennai recorded 8,963 new infections.
Passengers, who returned from other states by road from Jharkhand (3), Bihar (2), West Bengal (2), one each from Gujarat, Sikkim, Kerala and Telangana, added to the total 23,989 positive cases, according to a bulletin from the state Health Department. With 10,988 COVID-19 positive patients getting discharged following treatment on Saturday, the total recoveries thus far rose to 27,47,974. The number of active cases, including isolation, remains at 1,31,007. There were no new Omicron cases, said the bulletin.
Chennai continued to witness a steep increase in cases. On Saturday, there were 8,978 fresh cases in the city followed by Chengalpattu with 2,854, Coimbatore with 1,732 and Thiruvallur with 1,478 cases, the bulletin said. Chennai accounted for 6.34 lakh positive cases while the active cases remained at 54,685.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary, State Health and Family Welfare Department, Dr J Radhakrishnan inspected the COVID-19 war-room amid a spike in cases. The Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Dr T S Selvavinayagam issued a set of guidelines for COVID-19 testing in the current scenario of surge in cases, as per the guidance of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). As per the guidelines, individuals with symptoms like cough, fever, loss of taste and breathlessness and those undertaking international trips and international travellers arriving to the state may be tested.
Apart from instructions on those who should be tested in hospital settings, the guidelines said individuals who are asymptomatic in community settings, contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 unless identified as high-risk based on age or comorbidities, patients who stand to be discharged as per home isolation guidelines, patients being discharged from a COVID-19 facility as per revised discharge policy and individuals undertaking inter-State domestic travel need not be tested.