Chennai Buzz: Relaxed lockdown rules | More localised weather reports soon| CMRL’s post lockdown plan

WEEKLY NEWS ROUND-UP FROM CHENNAI

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An eerily empty underground Chennai Metro section between Tirumangalam and Egmore. Photo taken January 2019. Pic: G. Ananthakrishnan

COVID-19: Lockdown rules relaxed, Hospitals run out of beds, Koyambedu market shifted to Thirumazhisai, Madras HC’s ruling on Tasmac

In a recent update, the State government has relaxed the lockdown in Tamil Nadu (effective from Monday). According to the order, saloons, spas and beauty parlours will continue to remain closed. The following are the instructions given by the government for the localities falling under Greater Chennai Police limits and non-containment zones.

ServicesGreater Chennai Police limits (operation timings)Non-containment zones and rest of TN (operation timings)
Private establishments10.30 am to 6 pm (with 33% workforce)10 am and 7 pm
Vegetable shops and grocery stores6 am and 7 pm6 am and 7 pm
Standalone and neighbourhood shops*10.30 am and 6 pm
10 am and 7 pm
Fuel pumps6 am to 6 pm6 am to 8 pm
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* Standalone and neighbourhood shops include eateries, bakeries tea shops and restaurants (only takeaway in non-containment areas); florists, wholesale stores, hardware, electrical and electronic stores, servicing (hardware and electronic appliances like television, mobile phones) outlets, small-sized textile (only in other parts of State) and jewellery shops without air-conditioning, furniture shops, lorry booking services, laundry, photocopying outlets, courier and parcel services, automobiles and spare parts selling stores, stores selling Indian medicines, tiles and painting stores, shops that sell agricultural machinery, plywood shops and sawmills. The order stated that the stores should operate without air-conditioning facilities, maintain social distancing norms and disinfect the premises.

On May 10th, Tamil Nadu recorded 669 new COVID-positive patients, taking the total number of cases to 7204, according to Tamil Nadu Health Department’s bulletin. Of 669, 509 patients are from Chennai.

COVID-19 status in Chennai as on May 11. Pic: GCC/Twitter

As the number of cases is increasing, hospitals are falling short of beds. In view of this, officials have started shifting asymptomatic and stable patients to the Corporation’s COVID-care facilities at private colleges and Chennai Trade Centre. Experts state that asymptomatic patients do not need much treatment. Across the city, the corporation has arranged 4,000 beds at various places.

According to officials, a large number of patients are linked with the Koyambedu market cluster. Managing authorities from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) have stated that a large number of visitors flouted the norms by not wearing masks and crowding. The state and district administrations are working hand-in-hand to trace the list of people who have travelled from Koyambedu to other parts of Tamil Nadu. Following this, the market has been shifted to Thirumazhisai. From today, the wholesale shops will function from 10 pm to 10 am. The loads will be supplied to retailers between 10 pm and midnight, and traders have been directed to stop sales by 8 am.

Forty-five police personnel from Chennai City Police and 15 personnel from the Fire and Rescue Services Department and three Home Guards have tested positive for the virus and are admitted to city hospitals for treatment. One worker from Amma canteen has tested positive, following which, the canteen was shut and contacts are being traced.

In yet another incident, a worker from Madhavaram Aavin milk plant, who was in-charge of milk distribution, tested positive. Three of his family members have also tested positive. Officials from Aavin have begun testing all employees working in the company. 

Zone-wise Chennai COVID data as on May 11. Pic: GCC/Twitter

As the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) outlets resumed services briefly in Chennai’s surrounding areas – Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu districts, social distancing went for a toss. The operation was restricted in Chennai and containment zones, which led all city-dwellers to rush to the suburbs. The Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu government to close all 3,850 Tasmac shops in the state as safety rules were breached.

Ever since the lockdown has been in force, the total number of accidents has reportedly gone down. It may be noted that 483 fatalities were reported as on May 5, 2019 whereas this year, Chennai has recorded 271 fatalities were reported until May 4th.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India | DTNext | The New Indian Express | The News Minute

Met department to up its game

Marking its platinum jubilee this year, the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Chennai plans to improvise its technology to make accurate weather predictions by strengthening the weather observation network and providing localised weather data. 

According to RMC Chennai’s Deputy Director General of Meteorology S Balachandran, the process is underway to identify sites to install automatic weather stations and rain gauges in Chennai. It is stated that setting up the devices would aid flood forecasting and disaster management efforts. In Tamil Nadu, there are about 40 automatic weather stations and 73 automatic rain gauges.

The centre also plans to experiment with sector-specific weather data to meet the dynamic needs. 

Source: The Hindu

CMRL’s post lockdown plans

With 25% of workforce, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), has resumed the preparatory work on extension of Phase 1 at Chennai Central and Wimco Nagar. The government body has also constituted a safety team to monitor the movement of workers inside the site, to ensure that they continue to wear masks throughout the day and maintain physical distancing.

According to the officials, the department also plans to set-up mobile hand-washing units at the sites. It may be noted that the department had initially planned to begin train services in the extended Phase 1 stretch in June; due to the lockdown, officials state that this will be delayed.

In a bid to continue the social distancing norms after the lockdown, the CMRL will only be allowing three passengers to sit in a seven-seater and only one passenger in other seats. According to its plan, only four people will be allowed to use the escalator at once and crowd control staff will be deployed to guide people to the trains. Further, the passengers will be screened with thermal thermometer and hand sanitisers will be provided. Only passengers with masks will be permitted inside the station. As part of its plan, CMRL plans to do away with the recycled plastic tokens and issue only travel cards and plastic tickets.

Source: The Hindu | The New Indian Express

Compiled by Bhavani Prabhakar


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