- Travel within these districts allowed for essential purposes only
- Government and private buses can carry maximum 20 passengers
- Schools, colleges, places of worship, theaters and bars to remain shut
Tamil Nadu has extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state to May 31, albeit with easing of travel- and work-related restrictions for 25 of its least-affected districts, including Coimbatore, Salem, Trichy and the Nilgiris. These relaxations will not, however, apply to containment zones.
Taxis in 25 districts where restrictions have been eased can run, so long as they are used to provide essential services such as healthcare or are used for agricultural or business purposes.
Travel within these districts will be allowed freely, so long as it is for essential purposes. Inter-state travel will continue to require government authorisation.
In 12 other districts, including state capital Chennai, taxis and auto rickshaws will only be allowed for medical use, and will require e-passes to function.
Across the state, all schools, colleges, places of worship, cinema theatres and bars will remain shut during the lockdown. Parks, beaches and major sporting and cultural events continue to be banned. However, teachers and education staff evaluating Class 12 exam papers have been exempted.
Restrictions on weddings and funerals will continue, the government said, adding that tourists to three popular hill stations in the state - Ooty, Yercaud and Kodaikanal - will not be allowed till further notice.
Government and private buses permitted to transport government staff or industrial workers can carry a maximum of 20 persons. Vans are permitted to carry seven and smaller cars three, including the driver; slightly larger cars, including MUVs like the Toyota Innova, can carry three excluding the driver.
Coaching for sportspersons competing at national and international level has also been exempted, so long as the athlete concerned has permission from local administration.
Outside Chennai, 100 per cent workforce has been allowed in factories and industrial units that have less than 100 employees. Factories with more than 100 employees can run at 50 per cent capacity.
These announcements come hours after Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, also extended its lockdown.
Other states to have extended the lockdown imposed by the centre - due to end today - are Punjab and Mizoram. Both have extended it till May 31, while Telangana has extended it to May 29.
The extension of the lockdown in Tamil Nadu follows a surge in cases. The state has over 10,000 cases and has reported 74 deaths, so far. Chennai alone accounts for 58 per cent of these cases.
The good news, though, is that many districts have a declining trend in number of new cases.
Earlier this week Tamil Nadu reported over 2,600 cases reported from Koyambedu, a wholesale market near Chennai where vegetables and fruits are sold.
Last week the Tamil Nadu government announced major relaxations in lockdown guidelines for non-containment zones; these came into effect on Monday, May 11.
India has crossed the 90,000-mark in the number of coronavirus cases after reporting its biggest single-day jump with 4,987 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said today. 2,872 people have died so far.