TN to extend lockdown till May-end with more relaxations

With the state continuing to see a rise in Covid-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government is likely to announce a lockdown extension up to May 31, but with some more easing of norms.

On Thursday, the state government-appointed health expert team recommended to chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami a phased easing of the lockdown. The experts strongly recommended ramping up testing to better map the virus spread.

Dr Prabhdeep Kaur, a key member of the panel, told reporters the committee has favoured a gradual exit from the lockdown, once it is lifted.

“The lockdown is going to enter the next phase. We can release it only gradually, not all over (at the same time).. if done so, there is a chance of increase in the spread of” coronavirus,” she said.

She said the panel members recommended to the state government that whenever the lockdown ends, it should be a graded one in Tamil Nadu, which has over 9,000 positive cases of COVID-19.

“The lockdown is moving towards the next stage. At this moment, it is not possible to lift the lockdown across the state in one go, it can only be done in a phased manner. We recommended the government to do more testing.

Only by increased testing, we can identify more areas affected by the virus and carry out another necessary process like prevention, contact tracing, isolation, etc”, she said.

She added: “Fatality is very low in Tamil Nadu which is a big achievement. Another area where the state is excelling is contact tracing. We had one big cluster and it is settling down slowly. The government is doing well in contact tracing in the second cluster.”