Chennai will switch to shutdown mode for 12 days again: CM Palaniswami
With Chennai and suburbs continuing to witness a surge in Covid-19 cases, Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday declared a total lockdown in these areas from June 19 to 30.
Also, a full-scale shutdown will be implemented here on two Sundays during the 12-day period, he said.
Also, the Chief Minister announced another round of cash relief of Rs 1,000 to rice ration card holders and unorganised sector workers in Chennai and a string of other nearby areas in Chengelpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.
Ration card holders and workers with several state welfare boards have already received Rs 1,000 cash assistance in April and subsequent months.
After a meeting with an expert panel and amid rising coronavirus cases here, Palaniswami said the lockdown will be applicable in Chennai and several areas that fall under the jurisdiction of Greater Chennai Police and situated in Tiruvallur, Chengelpet and Kancheepuram districts.
As of June 14, Chennai's tally of virus cases and death toll stood at 31,896 and 347 respectively.
Adjoining districts like Chengelpet has also been witnessing a steady increase in the number of cases.
An expert panel, which had a meeting with Palaniswami today, advised the government to cut down on relaxations to help prevent the spread of virushere and nearby areas.
During the 12-day period, only essential services will be allowed with restrictions, Palaniswami said following a Cabinet meeting.
The proposed lockdown, sans present relaxations, will be implemented from June 19 to 30 and on two Sundays (June 21 and 28) there shall be a full-scale shutdown without any relaxations, he said.
On these two days, barring milk supply, pharmacies, hospitals and ambulance services, no other services or shops shall be permitted, he said.
During the period, banks, which are now open, will be allowed to function only on June 29 and 30 with 33 per cent workforce.However, ATM related functions shall continue to be operational.
Cargo and logistics and trucks ferrying essentials will function as usual.
Mobile vans, pushcarts and outlets selling vegetables and other essential commodities, and petrol pumps can operate only between 6 am and 2 pm by following anti-Covid-19 norms, including social distancing.
Palaniswami advised the public to avoid using vehicles to buy essential commodities and urged them to confine themselves to their neighbourhood and not venture beyond two km to buy such things.
Public Distribution System outlets could work from 8 am to 2 pm and PDS shops in containment areas will be shutdown.
Home delivery of government announced relief shall be made available to beneficiaries in hotspots, the Chief Minister said.
Now, groceries and vegetable shops function from morning till 8 pm.
Autorickshaws and taxis, which are allowed now, shall be off the roads and for emergency medical needs alone, private vehicles and autorickshaws will be allowed.
Eateries could be open between 6 am and 8 pm for only takeaway services.
Online food delivery services also shall continue to be operational.
Government run Amma Canteens and community kitchens shall work as usual.
Most restaurants, despite permission to offer both dine-in and takeaway services, cater only to the latter in view of factors like labour shortage and poor patronage.
Employees in State and Central government offices cannot exceed 33 per cent of the total strength of workforce and essential state government departments, including the Secretariat here, may function with adequate personnel.
Staffers from containment zones need not report for work and they may seek permission in advance from heads of departments, the Chief Minister said.
Construction activities will be allowed if they have labourers who stay put at the work site.
Continuous process industries and those involved in essential commodities could continue to work.
E-pass will be provided to people to move out of Chennai only for medical purposes and on account of wedding or death on production of valid proof.
Present norms for returnees from abroad and other states shall continue to be in place.
Appealing to people to cooperate with the government to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Chief Minister said though the government may come up with curbs, it shall not be possible to stop the pathogen in its tracks without public support.