The coronavirus pandemic has spread across the world; having infected more than 2.5 million around the world. Over 1.7 lakh casualties have also resulted from the deadly respiratory disease. In India, cases have risen to 19,984, while the death toll stands at 640, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's latest update.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus situation from the five southern states of India:
Updates from Tamil Nadu
Total cases: 1,596
April 21 cases: 76
Total tests: 53,045
Will There Be Lockdown Relaxations?
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami confirmed that there would be no relaxations until May 3.
From Bottom to Top -- Tamil Nadu Ramps-up Testing
Not too long ago, the TN government faced criticism for not testing enough samples.
As of April 13, they had tested 12,746 samples for 1,173 cases. The numbers have soared to 53,045 samples by April 21, making it the highest tester among southern states.
The state has 32 testing centres -- 22 government and 10 private -- with the government bearing the cost for all COVID-19 tests.
Consequently, the number of cases reported in the state are on the rise too. The state saw relatively fewer cases from April 14 to 16, with 94 cases in the three days. However, the numbers increased again with 105 cases reported on April 19.
As many as 178 people were discharged on Tuesday, the highest in the state so far.
Residents Oppose Burial of Doctor's Body, Government Swings into Action
On Sunday night in Chennai, residents opposed the burial of Dr Simon, who had succumbed to COVID-19. The ambulance carrying his body was attacked, forcing his friend Dr Pradeep to bury him late in the night.
The incident caused widespread outrage, and the authorities swung into action arresting 20 people. The government strictly warned people not to indulge in similar incidents in the future. Chennai police commissioner AK Viswanathan warned that Goondas Act will be enforced against those who block cremation of COVID-19 victims.
Journalists in Line of Fire
As many as 27 from a single TV channel -- Sathiyam TV -- were tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the channel to suspend operations.
Two journalists were tested positive for the virus on Sunday, following which tests were done on 94 people from Sathiyam TV apart from many other reporters in the state.
Unlike many other states, TN government has been conducting daily press meets but there was no conference on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if they take their press briefings online.
Here is the Latest News from Karnataka
Total cases: 418
April 21 cases: 10
Total tests: 26233
Will There be Lockdown Relaxations?
Karnataka initially considered partial relaxation of the lockdown post April 20, including allowing two-wheelers to ply in non-hotspot areas. Later, however, the government decided to maintain status quo till May 3.
Worst Doubling Rate in South
Karnataka has the lowest number of cumulative cases among all states in the south, but that might not tell the entire story.
As per a report in Deccan Herald, it has the fastest doubling rate in south India, with cases doubling every 9.2 days compared to Telangana (9.4 days), Andhra Pradesh (10.6 days), Tamil Nadu (14 days) and Kerala (72.2 days).
The national doubling rate stands at 7.5 days.
There were ugly scenes in Padarayanapura on Sunday night when a mob clashed with police and health officials who had gone to quarantine people in the area who were contacts of COVID-19 positive cases. Visuals of the clash went viral on social media, after which 59 people were arrested in connection with the issue. Padarayanapura is one of the 19 wards declared as containment zones in Bengaluru.
There was controversy over the wedding of Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, with Revathi, the grand-niece of former Karnataka housing minister M Krishnappa at Bidadi in Ramanagara district. While HD Kumaraswamy stressed that social distancing and all precautions were maintained during the event, BJP lashed out at them for violating lockdown rules.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan said they would probe the incident, but CM Yediyurappa said there was 'no need to discuss it'.
"All the necessary permissions were given and the marriage was performed in a simple manner. There is no need to discuss it. They had done it well within their limits for which I congratulate them," he said.
Here Are the Latest Updates from Kerala
Total cases: 426
April 21 cases: 19
Total tests: 20252
Centre vs State on Lockdown Relaxations
On April 17, Kerala revised their lockdown rules to gradually allow people's movement; the revisions included opening of barber shops, restarurant and book shops and allowing pillion riding on two wheelers in certain non-affected areas in the state.
Inter district bus travel remained suspended but the government considered allowing travel within the city or town for short distances.
The centre wrote to the state government objecting to the relaxations, saying the state government was violating lockdown rules. Kerala then said that there would be no relaxations on the lockdown.
"We should not think that we are now secure. This is the time to be more vigilant and careful," said CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
Parts of Kerala saw an increase in traffic on April 20 due to confusion about the lockdown relaxations.
Only 48 cases have been reported from Kerala in the last eight days, with signs clear that the state has managed to flatten the curve.
On two days in the last week, Kerala reported only one case per day. In a deviation from the norm in recent times, Kerala reported 19 cases on Tuesday. Yet, the active cases are 117 while the total discharged/recovered stands at 307.
But the Problems Aren't Completely Over
Kerala's success so far would have given them confidence to reduce lockdown relaxations a little, but they have a unique problem.
When air travel restrictions are lifted, there is bound to be a huge influx of Non-Resident Keralites, particularly from the gulf. State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac told CNBC that he expects at least 1,00,000 people to return after the lockdown is lifted.
Here is the Latest News from Andhra Pradesh
Total cases: 757
April 21 cases: 35
Total tests: 35,755
Will Lockdown Be Relaxed?
Andhra Pradesh reopened economic activity, lifting lockdown restrictions on certain industries and sectors from April 20. While no industries were allowed to open in red zones, the ones opened would have to strictly adhere to social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Andhra has tested 27,000 samples in the last 8 days, finding an addition of 318 positive cases. The government had recently imported 1 lakh rapid testing kits from South Korea.
Minister for Health Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas conceded that community transmission was possible in Andhra, with not all cases being traced to the source.
On Tuesday, Krishna district Collector Md Imtiaz said source for 30 cases in Vijayawada City alone is unknown. The district administration has issued a high-alert in Vijayawada City, which has seen a spike in number of cases.
Here Are the Latest Updates from Telangana
Total cases: 936
April 21 cases: 64
Total tests: 15,891
First State to Extend Lockdown
While Andhra took steps to revive their economy, neighbouring Telangana took a different stance and extended the lockdown till May 7, four days longer than the central government imposed a lockdown.
The state government also banned food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato, while allowing apps that deliver groceries. The government said no religious gatherings would be permitted, while calling on Muslims to pray at home during Ramzan.
Hyderabad in Red Zone
487 of Telangana's 936 cases are from Hyderabad, putting the city in a red zone.
No Hike in School Fee
In a relief for parents, the Telangana government ordered all private schools not to hike fee for the year 2020-2021. The government stressed that schools should collect only tuition fee, and that too on a monthly basis and not term/year fee.