A one-day complete lockdown to tackle the rapidly rising COVID-19 cases was enforced across Tamil Nadu on Sunday while police, local and health authorities stepped up measures to check violations.
Be it arterial roads, bylanes, markets or malls, public places in the state were deserted but for the movement of people, cargo trucks and other vehicles linked to essential services like milk distribution or in connection with purposes allowed by the government including health issues.
Healthcare professionals and workers, sanitary and civic personnel, continued their routine work. Barring flights, suburban and other train operations, bus and other public transport services including the Metrorail here were suspended. Suburban trains were operated here with 50 per cent occupancy. In view of the one-day lockdown, restaurants were allowed to offer only takeaway services (from 7 AM to 10 PM) and food delivery firms were permitted to work.
Police closed/regulated access to several flyovers, roads here and elsewhere and set up checkpoints on highways, key intersections and thoroughfares as part of measures to crack down on violators.
Similarly, civic and health authorities monitored effective implementation of lockdown across the state. Health Minister Ma Subramanian, along with top civic, health and police officials made inspections here and checked the enforcement of lockdown norms and sensitised people travelling for essential purposes on the guidelines to be followed to prevent virus spread.
Greater Chennai police said 381 cases were booked on Saturday for violation of curbs and 53 for not maintaining physical distance. As many as 761 vehicles were seized in connection with breaching COVID prevention norms, a release said. A fine of Rs 11,94,200 has been collected from a total of 5,971 people for not wearing mask, it added. Vehicle checks were intensified in districts bordering neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry in view of curbs.
To tackle the rising coronavirus cases and considering Omicron strain's spread, Chief Minister M K Stalin had day ago ordered fresh curbs which includes state-wide night curfew between 10 PM and 5 AM with effect from January 6. Also, he had announced a shutdown on January 9.
Chennai Police said people may contact them at 94981 81236, 94981 81239, 72007 06492 and 72007 01843 for enquiries on norms being implemented as part of the night curfew and lockdown on Sunday. Fresh virus cases breached the 10,000 mark in Tamil Nadu on January 8 as it added 10,978 infections. Days ago, Minister Subramanian had said that the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus were spreading like a 'tsunami' in Tamil Nadu and appealed to people to toe norms and get vaccinated to contain the spread.