- The total lockdown will be enforced from 4 am on May 10 to 4 am on May 24
- MK Stalin said lockdown was being enforced due to "unavoidable reasons"
- Tamil Nadu recorded its biggest day spike of 26,465 new cases on Friday
The Tamil Nadu government has announced a two week "total lockdown" from May 10 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. The order was issued a day after the state recorded its biggest day spike of over 26,000 new Covid infections.
Chief Minister MK Stalin, in a statement, said that the lockdown was being enforced due to "unavoidable reasons". The decision, Mr Stalin added, was taken based on inputs received at a review meeting he had with district collectors on Friday, besides consultations with medical experts.
"The total lockdown will be enforced from 4 am on May 10 to 4 am on May 24," he said.
Other services and tasks allowed to continue during the lockdown are banks (with 50 per cent staff) and ration shops. Restaurants will only be allowed takeaways.
No cabs or autorickshaws can ply on road except for hospital or wedding/funeral work, the order said.
The lockdown announcement is the first major decision taken by Mr Stalin, who took oath yesterday.
The 26,465 new cases on Friday has pushed the caseload in the southern state to 13,23,965. Up to 197 virus-related deaths were also reported during the period, taking the total number of fatalities to 15,171.
State capital Chennai accounted for 6,738 new infections, totalling 3,77,042 till date. It also leads in the total number of fatalities at 5,081.
Cases in Tamil Nadu spiked during campaigning, as all major parties held election rallies in which social distancing was absent, leading to sharp rebukes from the Madras High Court.
Tamil Nadu is among the 12 states that have over one lakh active COVID-19 cases each at present, according to the central government.
Tamil Nadu is the third southern state after Kerala and Karnataka to announce lockdown to fight the deadly sweep of the second wave of infections.