COVID-19 updates: Chennai under intense lockdown, cops and frontline staff contract virus, GCC plans dignified burial for COVID victims
On April 24th, Tamil Nadu recorded 72 new cases of COVID-19 and the total stood at 1755. Of the 72 patients, 52 were from Chennai. With 452 patients, Chennai tops the chart with the highest number of positive patients. 133 COVID-positive patients from the city are from Zone 5 (Royapuram).
In a bid to contain the spread, the state government announced an intense lockdown in Chennai and four other cities in Tamil Nadu from April 26th to 29th between 6 am and 9 pm. According to the order, medical shops, vegetable shops, wholesale markets will remain open. Standalone grocery stores and bakeries will remain shut. In case a grocery store sells vegetables, the shop is ordered to remain close, but they can sell vegetables on the street platforms.
The order led to massive panic buying, causing people to flout social distancing norms and gather in groups in market places. The State government had announced that all essential shops would remain open until 3 pm on April 25th.
Days after an employee of a Tamil television channel in Chennai tested positive for the virus, 26 colleagues of the employee have contracted the virus, in view of which the channel has suspended operations. In yet another case, three frontline staff in Chennai – a conservancy and malaria worker, a male housekeeping supervisor at the Egmore railway station and a sanitary worker – tested positive early this week. Three policemen and a home guard have also tested positive for the virus test.
The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has announced that the Amma canteens falling under Corporation limits will provide food free of cost till May 3rd. It may be noted that the city has 407 canteens and footfall in these has increased ever since the lockdown was announced.
Following the attack of local mobs during the burial of Dr Simon Hercules, who succumbed to the virus attack, the GCC conducted his final rites in high secrecy. It should be noted that this was the second such incident in Chennai. To prevent any more such incidents, the GCC plans to take similar steps for burial in the event of further deaths.
Source: The New Indian Express | NDTV | The Hindu
Sewage flow reduced in water bodies in Chennai
As Chennai continues to be locked down, many lakes and rivers are reportedly flowing clean. The Water Resources Department, which studied the samples of Ambattur and Korattur lakes, stated that the pollution level has come down in the past one month. The officials state that sewage discharge into the two lakes has reduced to one-fifth of the earlier amount and say it could probably be because the industries in the vicinity are shut. Water samples from three more points at Ambattur lake have also been collected for assessment of water quality and pollution levels, and officials are awaiting the results.
Similarly, Adyar river, Cooum and Buckingham Canal flow have recorded minimal sewage contamination. However, officials from the Public Works Department (PWD) note that domestic sewage continues to be discharged in the water bodies. The channels carrying effluents to the Adyar river remains dry and are free of effluents from tanneries in Chrompet, Tirumudivakkam, Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) as they are shut. The Buckingham canal carried 20 cusecs of water in January, and was found to be contaminated with industrial waste and domestic sewage. In stark contrast, with industries along the canal being under lockdown, the canal now carries 3 to 4 cusecs of water containing domestic waste, which again is discharged illegally.
Source: The Hindu | The Times of India
Empty metro trains chug around the city
As part of Chennai Metro Rail Limited’s (CMRL’s) maintenance activity, metro trains with empty coaches have been taking a ride around the city on rotational basis. Officials state that this is done to ensure that the trains are maintained well, so that operations can proceed smoothly once the lockdown is lifted. At present, 42 trains are stationed in the depot. The trains ply on the fully-operational 45-km Phase I project and the upcoming 9 km Phase I extension which is under construction.
Source: The Hindu
Compiled by Bhavani Prabhakar