Though a state-constituted medical expert committee recommended not to extend lockdown, advocating for a set of precautionary measures instead, the Tamil Nadu government has extended the coronavirus lockdown till July 31.
Sources say the decision has been taken since the government feared that relaxing lockdown fully would lead to drastic rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
According to a government order, all districts in the state will continue to follow restrictions on workforce and operating hours in restaurants and shops. Hotels and malls will remain shut and strict social distancing norms will be followed in all offices and restaurants.
However, the government’s decision to continue with the complete lockdown in Chennai and four other districts till July 5, despite the medical panel recommending against it, is being seen as unusual.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday announced extension of certain restrictions till July 31 across the State. However, the intensified lockdown that is currently being enforced in Chennai, its neighbouring districts, and Madurai will end on Sunday (July 5).
From the following day, the lockdown will be implemented as it was till June 19 in Chennai and surroundings, and for Madurai, as it was before June 23. Sundays will see complete lockdown.
Palaniswami has announced that worship would be allowed in small temples, mosques, and churches in all village panchayats from July 1, except within the Chennai police limits.