The lockdown cannot be extended indefinitely and it has to be ended soon, but it is in the hands of the people, Chief Minister M K Stalin said here on Tuesday and appealed to them to follow COVID-19 guidelines to help prevent the virus spread. There is no shortage of oxygen and no scarcity of beds in hospitals following the efforts taken by the government to improve amenities in the past about three weeks, he said.
”The truth is, beds are vacant in several hospitals.” Urging people to take precaution so as not to get infected with coronavirus and also not transmit it to others, he said following the intense lockdown from May 24, the state is witnessing a phased decline of virus spread in key cities, including Chennai. Recently, the cases in Chennai alone touched about 7,000 cases and it has now dropped below 3,000 (2,596 cases on May 31).
In a video message, the Chief Minister, referring to the decline, said everyone should realise that other than a complete lockdown, there is no other (effective) way to contain the virus spread. It is also true that the lockdown impacted the livelihood of a section of the people and that is why the government has disbursed the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under the Rs 4,000 COVID-19 assistance scheme.
Hence, the lockdown cannot be extended continuously and it has to be ended soon and ”that is in your hands, the people,” he said and appealed to them to fully follow the government stipulated curbs to help end the virus spread. On vaccination, he said three lakh people were being vaccinated in a single day and 1.70 lakh RT-PCR tests done daily and a coverage of a similar scale cannot be seen in any other state, he said.
In view of the difficulties faced by the people due to the lockdown, the government has taken several measures, including supply of vegetables and grocery items through mobile outlets, he said. After April 6, the day of Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, the government reintroduced curbs one after the other with a steady rise in COVID-19 cases.
From May 10, a lockdown was clamped albeit with some easing of curbs. Such relaxations were withdrawn and a complete lockdown was being enforced from May 24 and it would be in force till June 7.