DMDK chief Vijayakanth's wife Premalatha Vijayakanth, who is contesting the Tamil Nadu assembly election from the Virudhachalam seat, is worrying healthcare authorities as she did not undergo a Covid test before campaigning in the constituency despite being closely exposed to two people who tested positive. At least two of her close relatives with whom she had stayed in the last few days have reportedly tested positive for the virus.
A three-member health team that approached Premalatha Vijayakanth and asked her to undergo the test reportedly was told that she will finish campaigning today and then go for the test at the urban health centre. Covid protocols demand that a person remains in isolation if she or he has been exposed to a an infected person.
Ms Vijayakanth reportedly moved around among the public with over 100 supporters. She had recently stayed with her brother, his wife and 10 others. both of whom tested positive for Covid. They were staying together at a wedding hall. It was reported a couple of days ago that Ms Vijayakanth's brother Sudheesh had tested positive for coronavirus.
District health official Dr Senthil told NDTV that another relative, Ms Vijayakanth's sister--in-law, tested positive for coronavirus today after which she was moved into isolation.
Later this afternoon, since the candidate was unable to come to the health centre, she had requested the health team to be sent to her so that her swab could be taken, NDTV was told.
"Since there were about a dozen people staying at the marriage hall, that place may be converted into a containment zone and all those who were staying would be tested,'' Dr Senthil said.
The deputy director of health in Cuddalore said the marriage hall has been sanitised. "Since only two out of about a dozen people tested positive, it does not warrant being declared a containment zone," the official said. He also said that returning officer has also been informed since the case involved a poll candidate.
A swab has been taken and will be sent to Cuddalore. By tomorrow morning, they expect to know the result.
Actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth, the chief of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and the party's chief ministerial candidate, himself was seriously ill after getting infected with the virus last year. He subsequently recovered.
He is, however, neither contesting nor campaigning for the state election as both could severely impact his health. Virudhachalam is a constituency in Cuddalore district from where Vijayakanth had first contested and won the election soon after he launched his party in 2006.
Vijayakanth calls himself "Captain" and his wife calls herself "Lady Captain".
Earlier this month, he exited the AIADMK-led alliance over a seat-sharing dispute and finalised an election partnership with TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
The Tamil Nadu election for the state's 234 assembly seats will be held on April 6 and the results will be out on May 2.
Campaigning is going on at a frenetic pace in Tamil Nadu, with huge gatherings where Covid protocols often get violated. This, at a time when Tamil Nadu and the country are worried about a second wave of the pandemic.
Santosh Babu, the candidate for Kamal Haasan's party in Velachery and V Ponraj, the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) candidate for Anna Nagar in Chennai, had declared after they tested positive that they would carry out their campaign through social media and traditional media as they needed to isolate themselves.