33 new COVID-19 cases in TN; Govt to intensify containment

33 new COVID-19 cases in TN; Govt to intensify containment
(EDS: combines related stories)

Chennai, Apr 22 () Tamil Nadu on Wednesday reported33 new cases of COVID-19, as the government intensified stepsto curb the pandemic spread in Chennai with the appointment oftwo IAS officers to oversee containment strategy includingtesting those with symptoms like fever for the virus.


As many as four journalists from the city testedpositive, a day after 25 staffers including journalists from aTamil TV channel reported positive for the infection.

The four have been admitted to the exclusive COVID-19hospital at the Omandurar Estate and are undergoing treatment,a senior health official said.

While three of them work for a Tamil TV news channel,the fourth was from another vernacular news channel.

Earlier, a large number of journalists in the cityvolunteered for testing after a scribe from a Tamil newspaperand a TV journalist tested positive on Sunday.


Chennai continued to top the state's COVID-19 numberswith 373 infections on Wednesday, as new proposed measuresincluded complete curb on public movement in containment zonesand expediting contact tracing.

Catering to frontline workers, the government hikedthe solatium to Rs 50 lakh from the existing Rs 10 lakh, forthose professionals who lose their lives fighting againstthe deadly virus.

In a related development,the Madras High Court rejecteda plea seeking disclosure of the identities of COVID-19patients in the state so that people who came in contact withthem can go for self-quarantine.

On Wednesday, the government said 33 new COVID-19positive cases were reported in the state.

With no fresh deaths, the toll from the virus remainedat 18, a bulletin issued by the Health department said.


The additions pushed the cumulative tally to 1,629,even as 662 people have been discharged, including 27 today.

Following the fresh numbers, Chennai had 373 positivecases followed by Coimbatore 134 and Tiruppur at 109.

Nearly 23,760 people were under home quarantinewhile 155 were in government facilities, it said.

With Chennai topping the chart, the governmentannounced intensified measures to check the spread of thepandemic.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami said a series of measureswas being implemented to check the spread of the contagion inthe city.


"Considering the prevailing situation, I have directedsteps to completely curb public movement in containment zones,expedite contact tracing and subject them to tests, and carryout coronavirus testing on those in the city limits withsymptoms like breathlessnes, fever and throat pain," he saidin a statement.

Two IAS officials have been additionally appointed aszonal officers for this purpose, he said.

Further, he announced an increase in the solatium forfrontline workers in the battle, from the existing Rs 10 lakhto Rs 50 lakh.

The gesture applies to medical professional atstate-run government hospitals, health or sanitation workersand police, besides employees of local bodies who diecontracting the lethal virus while on coronavirus containmentwork.

Also, kin of the deceased would be provided governmentjob, based on their qualification, he said.


Further, steps would be taken to offer protection fortheir funerals, whether they were government or private staff.

"It is the duty of the government to honour the selflessservice of the frontline workers," he said.

Medical professionals and health workers serving inboth government and private hospitals would be honoured withappropriate awards if they lost their lives while fightingagainst COVID-19, he added.

The Madras High Court dismissed a plea seekingdisclosure of identities of COVID-19 patients to enable thosewho had come in contact with them go for self-quarantine.

A special bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan andM Nirmal Kumar dismissed a public interest litigation petitionwhich also sought a direction to the state government tomonitor COVID-19 patients for at least three months afterrecovery.


The petitioner contended that considering the natureof the contagious disease and its impact on public, unless theidentity of affected persons was revealed it would beimpossible for others to know whether they have come across aninfected person and decide on self quarantining them.

The COVID-19 bulletins issued by the state governmentonly mentions the city/town, age, gender and primary orsecondary contact details of patients.

Meanwhile, a section of resident doctors at the RajivGandhi Government General Hospital threatened to "withhold"all COVID-19 related duties from Wednesday evening demandingquarantine facilities for them but dropped the move followingan assurance from the chief minister on ensuring their safety,officials said. CORR VIJ SA BNWELCOME BNWELCOME

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