Tamil Nadu Extends Lockdown Till March 31, Offices To Stagger Timings

Coronavirus Lockdown, Tamil Nadu: Starting Monday the state will hold the second phase of the vaccination drive, with priority for those over 60 and those over 45 but with co-morbidities

Tamil Nadu Extends Lockdown Till March 31, Offices To Stagger Timings

Tamil Nadu reported nearly 500 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours (File)

Chennai:

Tamil Nadu has extended existing coronavirus-related restrictions till March 31, meaning offices, shops, and industrial and commercial establishments will continue with staggered working hours.

Authorities have been directed to crack down on violations of these or any other Covid-related protocols. Police and municipal authorities have been further directed to ensure that measures in containment zones - which will now be demarcated at micro-levels - are strictly followed.

These include the use of face masks in public and maintaining social distancing.

International travel, restrictions on which were extended by the DGCA yesterday, remains prohibited in the state, apart from those related to essential services and permitted exceptions.

The state government has cautioned people over 65, those with co-morbidities, those who are pregnant, and children under the age of 10 to take all necessary and required precautions.

Starting Monday the second phase of vaccination will begin in the state (and across the country), with people over the age of 60, and those over 45 but with co-morbidities, in line to get the shot.

Vaccinations will be free of cost at government-run facilities and be capped at Rs 250 per dose in private hospitals and clinics.

The state is also preparing to hold Assembly elections, with voting for its 234 seats scheduled to take place in a single phase on April 6. The Union Territory of Puducherry, which is around 150 km from state capital Chennai, will vote for its 30 seats on the same day.

On Friday the Election Commission confirmed that polling officials in the state would be eligible for priority vaccination because they were categorised as frontline workers.

The state reported 486 new cases (and five deaths linked to the virus) over the past 24 hours, the Health Department said on Sunday night, placing it among the top five on both counts.

Overall Tamil Nadu has reported more than 8.51 lakh cases - of which around 8.34 lakh are recoveries and around 12,000 are deaths - since the pandemic broke in December 2019.

The number of active cases is around the 4,000-mark.