Express News Service
CHENNAI: The marginal increase in Covid-19 cases for the past three days has put the brakes on Chennai’s return to normalcy from the second wave of the Covid outbreak. From 2,931 active cases on July 1, the cases fell to 1,474 on July 28. Since then, however, there has been an increase in cases, with the latest figure standing at 1,627. Officials said that most cases rose from busy markets and hospitals.
“When we analysed the number of patients and sources of the infection, we found that most got the infection from markets, functions (mostly marriages), inter-state travel, and visits to hospitals,” Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi told The New Indian Express. He advised the public to not go to crowded areas or step out unnecessarily. “People must wear masks all the time and follow Covid-19 protocols,” he added.
Markets closed in city
Following this marginal rise, the corporation ordered the closure of at least 10 major markets and shopping plazas, including those at T Nagar, Purasawalkam, Chindadripet and Royapuram for the next 10 days. If not prevented at the earliest, experts opined that such small clusters might lead to bigger outbreaks, leading to a third Covid wave.
Former director of Public Health Dr K Kolandasamy said that closing shopping complexes would control the outbreak. “It appears that hospitals and contained spaces without ventilation are problematic. People also spend more time in jewellery and textile shops,” he said, adding that it might lead to person-to-person transmission.
Kolandasamy said that hospitals must separate outpatients and that even the waiting areas must be spacious enough for social distancing to be maintained. “This must be done in all hospitals,” he said, adding that relatives shouldn’t be allowed to visit patients unnecessarily. Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, in his July-30 letter to Collectors, said all buildings should have adequate ventilation and only vaccinated attendants should be allowed near patients. “There should not be any mix-up in Covid-19, non-Covid-19, and maternity services,” he added. Meanwhile in Chennai, 8 out of the 15 corporation zones have fewer than 100 cases.
Don’t be the reason for third wave, Stalin warns people
In the light of the rise is cases, Chief Minister MK Stalin has requested people to not let their guard down. “The virus is spreading again in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharastra. The cases came down due to lockdown but it is again increasing as there are now relaxations. People must remember this,” said Stalin. “We are making arrangements for you to buy things by opening shops but people are not following Covid protocols,” he said.
The CM said if crowds are seen in specific localities frequently, the Collectors have been instructed to take action. “Some shops in Chennai have been closed due to this,” he said. Stalin said, “Vaccine is the most powerful weapon. Union government vaccines aren’t sufficient but as and when we get, we are giving it,” he added. The CM urged that since there are no vaccines for children, there is more reason for people to be careful. “The third wave could be worse, say experts, but it must be a caution, not fear,” he added