COVID: 22 deaths in 24 hours in Chennai

Published : May 29, 2020 21:03 IST

Migrant workers before getting on a special train to their hometown, at Chennai’s Egmore railway station on May 29. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

May 29 marked a day when Tamil Nadu crossed several troubling milestones indicating a clear setback in its fight against COVID-19, but Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami pointed to the number of deaths and, comparing it with that in developed nations, declared that the State was doing a good job of controlling the spread of the virus.

In just over the past 24 hours, as many as 22 people died in Chennai city alone. Of these 15 patients died in just two hospitals—eight patients died in Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital and seven in Stanley Medical College Hospital. With this, the total death toll in the State went up to 154—as many as 113 of these deaths have been in Chennai.

May 29 also saw the highest single-day spike in the State so far, 874. According to a government release, the number of dead today were nine.

Those returning from other States constituted a fair number (141) of those tested positive. Of this, 135 persons came from Maharashtra, indicating the extent of COVID spread in that State. The Chief Minister said that so far 2,218 workers from abroad had returned to Tamil Nadu by sea and air.

In all, 20,246 people have been infected in the State. Of this, 8,776 are active cases, while as many as 11,313 have been discharged. The government has been harping on two “achievements”—that the number of discharges is high and the death rate is very low.

In Chennai today, 618 people were found to be infected. The total number of persons infected in the State’s capital city is 13,362.

The lack of a plan for the Chennai area is clear, though sporadic field-level action is evident in some places. In a move that made it clear that there would be zero tolerance for COVID guideline violations, the Corporation sealed nearly 250 shops in the city’s commercial hub, T. Nagar, for not implementing physical distancing and sanitation instructions. In some cases, officials found that even hand sanitisers were not being given to customers. But in many others parts of the city, people were seen in shops without masks, and shops too were not dispensing hand sanitisers.

Both Chief Minister Palaniswami and Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar have put the onus on the people and have repeatedly held them responsible for the extent of the spread of the virus. The Chief Minister held discussions with District Collectors on May 29 to take their opinion on the end of the lockdown and to review the progress of COVID-related works. On May 30, he will consult public health experts with regard to opening up the State.

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