The Chennai Corporation has made 14-day quarantine mandatory for all those visiting labs to give samples for COVID-19 tests. Even the family members of those who undergo tests will have to follow home isolation/quarantine norms under the new order. The Chennai Corporation believes the new move would help check the spread of virus which has infected more than 27,000 in the city.
But many believe the move could backfire and deter people from going for testing at a time when ramping up testing is the need of the hour.
Under the new move, people who visit the 30 laboratories in the city will have to provide a number of information, including the details of people they had met over the last two weeks.
The municipal body believes that the information will help them expedite tracing if a person tests positive for COVID-19.
On an average around 5,000 people get tested in Chennai every day. With the implementation of the new order around 20,000 people (assuming four in a family) could be put on quarantine every day, and a total of around three lakh residents will have to remain confined to their homes in the two-week window.
The city corporation, in a statement said, that 6,000 workers will be deployed to reach out to these families under quarantine.
With more than 27,000 positive cases, Chennai accounts for 70 per cent of the state's tally. Health authorities say six slums housing around 27 lakh people continue to pose a challenge.
Most of the residents in these pockets filled with cramped houses along narrow lanes largely use public toilets. Despite imposing a fine of Rs 100 around 15% people in these areas still do not wear masks, officials say.
According to the Union Health Ministry, Tamil Nadu is next only to Maharashtra which is the worst hit state in the country with 97,648 cases.
Amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday replaced Health Secretary Beela Rajesh with her predecessor J Radhakrishnan, who had a long stint in the department and hands on experience in tackling crisis situations.
Explaining the Corporation Commissioner's announcement he said: "Tests results take two to three days and if positive in that period many could infect others at work place or during travel. Its with a long term view he has said this. After results only those who are negative but symptomatic would have to be under quarantine. Positive would be moved to hospitals, Corona Health Centres or Corona Care centres based on their status".