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One week total lockdown comes into force in TN, to control COVID spread

Chennai: The one week total and complete full lockdown, sans any relaxations, to control the spread of the second wave of the corona virus, came into force on Monday.

As the cases surged past the 36,000-mark, the total lockdown was announced by Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday after holding discussions with medical and healthcare experts and with the all party legislature party leaders–an extension of the restrictions that began on May 10 and ended at 0400 hrs today morning.

To enable the people stock the essentials like vegetables and groceries, the state government had permitted opening of shops till 2100 hrs on Saturday and Sunday, as people flocked the vegetable, fruits, flower, fish markets and meat stalls, besides retail textile and jewellery showrooms throwing the social distancing norms to the winds during the last two days, triggering fears of further spread of the pandemic.

Except for pharmacies, traditional medicine shops, veterinary clinics, milk, drinking water and newspaper distribution, the state was completely shut.

Roads wore a deserted look and about 20,000 police personnel, including those drawn from the Tamil Nadu Special Police were deployed on duty in Chennai city.

Police have also erected more than 300 check posts and barricades were put up in all arterial roads to prevent unwanted movement of people in the city.

Police have warned that people who ventured out their houses without valid reasons, strict action will be action and their vehicles will be seized.

All flyovers and subways were closed and only those with valid e-registration passes and for emergency purposes were allowed to travel.

All shops, including vegetables and grocery shops, which were allowed to open from 0600 hrs to 1000 hrs during the earlier period, were totally closed.

The state government has made arrangements for sale of vegetables and fruits through the horticulture department in about 4,000 mobile vehicles in Chennai city and in all districts in coordination with the local bodies.

Only essential departments functioned at the State Secretariat –the seat of power–and in districts, while private firms, insurance firms, IT and ITES staffs were allowed to work from home.

However, banks were allowed to function with one-third of staff strength. E-commerce services were allowed to function from 0800 hrs to 1600 hrs and takeaways alone was allowed in restaurants and hotels from 0600 to 1000 hrs, 1200 noon to 1500 hrs and 1800 hrs to 2100 hrs. E-commerce services like Swiggy, Zomato will also be allowed to operate during this period.

Apart from this, petrol bunks, ATM, transporting agricultural produce, goods vehicles carrying essential commodities were also allowed.

While people are allowed to travel from one district to other for valid medical reasons and deaths with E-registration.

However, for intra-district travel for medical purposes, e-registration was not made mandatory. Press and media, continuous process industries, industries manufacturing essential commodities and medical equipment are allowed to function as per the SOPs announced earlier.

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