‘Decision to extend lockdown depends on various factors’

Bengaluru: Drones deployed by Bengaluru civic body to spray disifectants across the city during complete lockdown imposed in 560 districts in 32 states and union territories across the country as precautionary measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Chennai, April 9 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Thursday said the decision to extend the lockdown in the state to prevent the spread of coronavirus will be taken after looking at various aspects.

Speaking to reporters here Palaniswami said the number of persons testing positive for coronavirus in the state is on the rise.

A 19-member medical group has been constituted. The group’s advice along with the earlier set up 12 official groups will be taken into account by the government while deciding whether to extend or not the lockdown period.

Queried whether another round of financial assistance of Rs.1,000 would be provided to the affected people if the lockdown is extended Palaniswami said relief could be given only to the extent of funds available with the government.

He said the government has not cut the salaries of state employees unlike some other states.

According to him, the government has written to the Central government to release additional sum apart from Rs.510 crore that was earlier released.

He said the state is in the 2nd stage in the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and steps are being taken to prevent from going to third stage-community spread.

According to him, the rapid test kit – to test people for coronavirus infection- will first be used to test the close relatives of Covid-19 patients first. Then their contacts followed by those who live in that locality would be tested using the new test kit.

Palaniswami said the state will provide four lakh rapid test kits for this purpose.

He also announced Rs.1,000 relief to members of various welfare boards including workers in firecrackers industry. The total number of workers benefitting will be about 8.2 lakh.

Palaniswami said a sum of Rs.101 crore has been received till date for the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.

Earlier Palaniswami along with Union Minister Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (present via video conference) launched the Arogya Setu App in the state so that people can get their doubts on Covid-19 clarified.

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