The daily increase in coronavirus figures of Chennai -- the epicenter of the disease in Tamil Nadu -- has dipped by a whopping 60 per cent over the last five days, but new hotspots are emerging in districts. From a peak of 2000-plus, the daily average in Chennai is down to around 1,200. But 465 km away in the temple town of Madurai, the infection is raging.
There's a five-fold rise in numbers in Madurai over the last 16 days -- from June 23 to July 9. Though the city is under complete lockdown, the total has spiked from 988 to 5,299.
In the same period, the numbers have doubled or almost doubled in Thiruvallur and Chengalpattu districts adjoining Chennai. Thiruvallur has 5,877 cases and Chengalpattu has 7,386 cases now.
State health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan told NDTV: "We are not focusing on Madurai alone. We are focussing on other districts like Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Vellore and Thriuvannmalai". The situation in these areas is being consolidated, he said.
Replicating Chennai's street-level micro strategy, the health department is opening hundreds of fever clinics in these areas, and the largely urban slums in Madurai, for early intervention.
Madurai being the gateway to the southern districts, the recent relaxation in restrictions led to an exodus from Chennai and other areas.
There is also criticism that the state did not ramp up testing in districts earlier as much in Chennai, nor is it sharing district-wise testing details.
Tamil Nadu ranks second in the number of positive cases across the country, and 4,231 people tested positive in the state today, taking the active tally to 46,652 and total positive tally to 1,26,581.
Chennai accounts for 58.2 per cent of the cases. The city now has 20,271 active cases and a total of 73,728.
Over the last few weeks, the state has managed a good recovery rate of 61.7 per cent. The mortality doubled in the last few weeks, standing now at 1.39 per cent.