Chennai, May 17: Ahead of the Centre releasing guidelines for phase 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown, Tamil Nadu has extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state to May 31.
Schools, colleges, places of worship, cinema theatres and bars in the southern state, which has reported over 10,000 COVID-19 cases, so far, will remain shut during this period.
In 12 other districts, including Chennai, there will be no change in the curbs and they will continue as existed during the third phase of lockdown, set to end on Sunday.
Citing consultations with top officials, public health and medical experts, he said the lockdown is extended till May 31 and the curbs including bar on functioning of educational institutions, public entry into religious places and relaxations already in force will continue throughout the state.
The government announced new relaxation in curbs for 25 districts, including Coimbatore, Salem, Erode, Tirupur, Namakkal and Karur, where people could avail government and private buses for commute within the district and they do not need "TN e-pass," (permission for travel), he said.
Effective March 24 evening, public transport ceased to operate in the state as part of lockdown measures.
The decision is on expected lines as the state has reported the highest number of cases and deaths in the country so far.
The present lockdown was valid from May 2 to 17. "Lockdown 3.0 ends today. Lockdown 4.0 will come into effect on Monday and will be valid till May 31. There will be some relaxations in the fourth phase.
On Saturday, over 30 municipal areas were identified in 12 states where maximum restrictions are likely to be imposed as India registered nearly 91,000 Covid-19 cases, leaving behind China where the pandemic emerged.
The selected municipal areas are: Brihanmumbai or Greater Mumbai, Greater Chennai, Ahmedabad, Thane, Delhi, Indore, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Nashik, Jodhpur, Agra, Tiruvallur, Aurangabad, Cuddalore, Greater Hyderabad, Surat, Chengalpattu, Ariyalur, Howrah, Kurnool, Bhopal, Amritsar, Villupuram, Vadodara, Udaipur, Palghar, Berhampur, Solapur and Meerut.