Lying south of the state capital, Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu has emerged on the national map of districts witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases after its proximity to Chennai made it easy for the virus to spread to the peripheral areas. Places like Pammal, Pallavaram, Pozhichalur, Tambaram that come under the Chengalpattu district have seen a consistent spike in COVID 19 cases since May 18.
With a total of 1,624 positive cases and 14 deaths, Chengalpattu is second only to Chennai in the list of the most-affected districts in the state. The emergence of another district as badly hit as Chennai on the national radar has begun to worry administrators.
According to the central government, 64% of India’s positive cases come from 15 districts and Chengalpattu is a new addition to the list after it registered a major growth contributing to 5.26% of Tamil Nadu’s cases.
Around mid-April, the ballooning cases triggered by the returnees of the Tablighi Jamaat conference were brought under a net after the chief minister gave an open appeal for the public to self declare their travel.
Soon after, Tamil Nadu faced its second super-spreader in its largest vegetable market in the city. Leading on from that rise, the daily count of coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu, most of which are in Chennai, have not shown any sign of abating. Chennai has been recording over a thousand cases for several days now. On Friday, the city recorded 1,116 new cases. Despite a commensurate surge in recovery, Chennai continues to remain a worry for the state administrators
“At least 5 per cent of the population in Chennai is carrying the virus. We think the fear among the public here has gone and, therefore, a large number of people are not following protocol while stepping out of their homes. The four zones in Chennai including Kodambakkam, Rayapuram continue to see a spike in cases. We are trying our best to contain the spread but a lot depends on the people living in these zones. It is because of Chennai that Chengalpattu and two other neighbouring districts have seen a surge in cases for more than three weeks,” a senior officer said.
The officer added that the government is also trying to arrange additional beds and other resources at the hospitals in Chennai fearing infrastructure challenges with the number of cases increasing every day.
Chennai has crossed the 1000-mark for the third straight day and the tally stands at 19,826.