TN intensifies sample collection, screening in containment zones

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of national lockdown until May 3, Tamil Nadu swung into action to intensify rapid testing and contain the virus spread.

Until now, the sample collection had been restricted to government hospitals and medical colleges. It has now been extended to primary health centres (PHCs) in the districts. While samples of all the Tablighi Jamaat members, who attended a Delhi convention, and spread across the state, have been collected and tested, the process is on to collect samples and test family members and other contacts.

The state has earmarked containment zones identified based on the last-lived location of positive patients where health workers visit every house within a 5-8 km radius and screen every occupant for fever and other symptoms of coronavirus.

Though the state has ramped up testing in the past few days by changing its protocol from symptomatic testing to aggressive testing, experts feel the extended lockdown should be used to contain further spread of COVID-19.

Responding to Opposition DMK president M K Stalin’s charge, Health Minister Vijayabaskar said there was no shortage of face masks of PPEs in the State. There was no shortage of masks and PPEs, he added.

”We have the capacity to treat 1.5 lakh patients and have enough stock of masks and protective equipment”, he said. ”Even before the corona cases were reported in India, we were fully prepared by purchasing adequate stock of medicines and protective equipment”, Dr Vijayabaskar said, adding the corona pandemic was well under control in the State and there was no community tranmission.