The Tamil Nadu government has extended the coronavirus lockdown till July 31 amid a steady rise in the COVID-19 numbers in the state. Chennai and Madurai will continue to be under intense lockdown till July 5 and the current relaxations and curbs shall be in force till July 31 for the rest of Tamil Nadu, the government said.
"Total lockdown will continue in Chennai, Madurai and surrounding areas till July 5. From July 6 to July 31, Chennai will revert to pre June 19 relaxed lockdown. From July 6, Madurai will revert to pre June 24 relaxed lockdown," said the state government in its order.
The Tamil Nadu government, after announcing relaxations as part of Unlock1 across the state from June 1, had re-imposed intense lockdown in Chennai and parts of neighbouring Chengelpet, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram till tomorrow from June 19.
Madurai and nearby areas were also under similar curbs from June 24 to 30 in view of high number of cases.
The decision on extending the lockdown came just hours after a expert committee set up to advise the Tamil Nadu government on tackling COVID-19 favoured restrictions based on the scenario in specific regions and has not recommended extension of the lockdown in force in the state till Tuesday, one of its members said.
"Our committee did not recommend lockdown. It is called a blunt instrument. Though not the best solution, it is needed sometimes. In Chennai, the lockdown has helped to increase doubling time (of cases) and slowing down transmission. But lockdown alone is not the solution for COVID-19 and we cannot be under lockdown forever," said a scientist on the panel.
3,949 people have tested positive for the virus in Tamil Nadu over the last 24 hours while 64 have died due to COVID-19 related symptoms, showed government data this morning. With the addition of fresh infections, the state's tally has propelled to 86,224 with Chennai alone accounting for nearly 54,000 cases.