Most of the standalone shops in Chennai remained closed for the second day despite a government order on relaxation of lockdown that was put in place to control the spread of coronavirus. The shopkeeprs say that the spike in number of COVID-19-related infections in the city have forced them to remain shut despite facing loss of business during the 45-day lockdown.
Chennai has around 2,328 positive cases. A majority of these cases have been reported in Koyambedu, where 1,700 people have contracted the virus.
"I am scared because of the spread of the virus. We would not know if we are dealing with someone who has contractedthe virus," said Janardhanan, a hardware merchant based in Chennai's East Coast Road.
Many standalone establishments also remained shut as the Corporation did not permit use of air conditioners citing spread of the virus. Those that were allowedto open were asked to put a "No AC" board at the entrance.
"Air Conditioners could lead to crowds in shops and we wouldnt know as doors would be shut," said a health official.
Chennai remained at the top among the 37 districts, followed by Cuddalore (229 cases) with 68 additions. Among the reasons for rapid spread of the contagion in the state capital was higher density of population in cramped localities and through public toilets, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said.
Mr Palaniswami has attributed the rise to testing a higher number of samples.