Chennai comes to a standstill on first 'Sunday shutdown'

Chennai, Jun 21 (PTI) The first 'Sunday shutdown' with exception only for hospitals and allied health services broughtChennai and suburbsto a standstill while the city's civic body said its fever camps to help detect coronavirus cases have evokedtremendous responsefrom the people.

It was a virtual curfew with deserted roads, bridges and intersections fully blocked by police using barricades and with theexception of police, sanitary workers and health personnel of theGreater Chennai Corporation (GCC) most of others stayed indoors.

City police said as many as 4,799 cases have been filed for violation of curbs and 7,907 vehicles (7,395 two- wheelers, 168 autorickshaws, 344 light motor vehicles) have been seized.

While vegetable shops, groceries and petrol pumps have been allowed to function from 6 am till 2 pm during the 12-day lockdown period that began on June 19, such outlets too are closed today.

The government had already announced that on two Sundays (June 21 and 28) barring milk supply, pharmacies, hospitals and ambulance services, no other services or shops will be permitted to function.

The present spell of lockdown was implemented in view of continuing surge in coronavirus cases and before that most servicesand businesses were allowed to function.

On Saturday, of the 2,396 fresh virus cases in Tamil Nadu, Chennai accounted for 1,254 and the state capital's tally stood at 39,641.

GCC Commissioner K Prakash said as many as 533 medicalcamps were conducted on a single day on Saturday in which 36,671 people took part and over 1,198 Influenza Like Illness cases were detected and swab samples were taken from 1,029 people.

'The fever clinics run by the Corporation have evoked tremendous response from the people. The services came in handy for people for many ailments (apart from helping detection of coronavirus symptoms) especiallywhen many clinics and dispensaries in private sector remain unopened,' he said.

According to the civic body, the fever camps, which were 100 plus during the end of May steadily increased and crossed the 500-mark on June 18 and touched 533 on Saturday.

Fever camps were held by GCC on Sunday as well in several locations here and people were given immunity boosting herbal drink 'Kabasurakudineer,' which means a concoction to beat cold and fever.

Chennai Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan said senior police officers were leading patrols in the city.

Following inputs that the public had ventured out of their homesin some interior areas, an appeal was made to them using public addresssystems to stay indoors and the response was good, he told reporters.

'People should continue to do it (cooperate),' he said adding though there may be some difficulties in view of the curbs to fight COVID-19, endurance shall stand people in good stead.

'Police is afriendof the people. Even if the restrictions are tough in someareas, people should kindly bear it as the present curbs are intended to facilitate return of normalcy,' he said and appealed again to people to cooperate.

Asked on some people in quarantine going outside their place of stay flouting norms, he said such people were being monitored.

'We advise them, warn them and cases have also been filed,' he said adding violations were being monitored and cases registered against violators.

The curbs are applicable only to Chennai and parts of nearby Chengelpet, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts.PTI VGN SS PTI PTI