COVID-19 lock-down could be lifted gradually says Tamil Nadu CM

COVID-19 lock-down could be lifted gradually says Tamil Nadu CM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday indicated that the ongoing lockdown could be lifted "gradually" and sought people's cooperation to restore normalcy post-lockdown.

Listing his government's various steps to resume economic activities, besides ensuring that the people did not suffer during the lockdown, he also stressed people's cooperation was important.

"People should extend total cooperation (to the government).. following the kind of cooperation extended by you, the lockdown can be withdrawn gradually," he said.

The chief minister made the remarks at a review meeting of district collectors and other officials chaired by him to take stock of the Covid-19 prevention activities at the Secretariat here.

Tamil Nadu is one of the worst affected states in the country vis-a-vis coronavirus, with the number of cases standing in excess of 8,000. His statement also comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there will be a fourth phase of the lockdown, which will be very different from the earlier three phases.

The third phase of the lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17. Palaniswami further said his government's efforts have resulted in people having access to essential items, even as it was reaching out to various sections of the society like guest workers, destitute and the poor through the distribution of dry ration as well as providing food through Amma Canteens and community kitchens.

Seeking to give a fillip to economic activities, the government had set up a high-powered committee (under the Chief Secretary) to attract businesses "moving out of certain countries," he recalled.

Further, due to the coordinated efforts of various arms of the government, including the medical professionals, the pandemic was under control, he said, adding Tamil Nadu had the lowest death rate of 0.67 per cent while its discharge rate stood at 27 per cent.

Referring to the high spike in daily virus numbers in recent days, he attributed it to increased testing of samples. Experts have said that the pandemic will "slightly go up" before going on a declining trend, Palaniswami said, adding there was no need for the people to panic.

The state had a total of 53 testing centres. Even those undergoing treatment in hospitals will soon return home and the government was with them, he added. As on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu has reported a total of 8,718 coronavirus cases with 61 fatalities.