Experts will be consulted on whether or not to extend

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lockdown beyond May 24, says TN CM Stalin Tiruchirappalli (TN), May 21 (PTI) A decision on whether to extend the two-week lockdown in Tamil Nadu or not do so would be deliberated with a committee of experts and a panel of all-party legislators, Chief Minister M K Stalin said here on Friday.

Whether the curbs should be continued further and in case of extension of restrictions, what relaxations could be offered would all be discussed with experts and MLAs from all parties on Saturday in Chennai, he told reporters.

The lockdown that commenced on May 10 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will end on May 24.

Answering a question, the Chief Minister said elected representatives were of the opinion that the curbs should be further extended.

'A decision will be taken (on extension of lockdown) tomorrow following consultations with experts and representaives of all parties (in the Assembly),' he said.

Citing the view of medical experts that the virus spread is likely to peak soon in Tamil Nadu, he said everyone must follow the COVID-19 related guidelines.

There were views thata third wave of the virus was also a probable and 'we have to be ready to tackle it also,' he said.

The day when no one was infected with the virus would really be a day of joy and only then would he be happy, the Chief Minister said.

Stalin, who arrived here as part of his two day official tour of five districts to review COVID-19 related government work, said the pace of the virus spread has been slowed down and the number of fresh infections have been controlled.

This was due to the lockdown and many measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, he added.

On Thursday and Friday, the CM visited Salem, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli and Madurai districts.

Tamil Nadu on Friday logged 36,184 new COVID-19 cases.The state has 2,74,629 active cases and 19,598 people have succumbed to the infection till date.

The Chief Minister said the second instalment of Rs 2,000 under the Rs 4,000 COVID-19 relief assistance plan for rice ration card holders would be disbursed before June 3, the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister 'Kalaignar' M Karunananidhi.

To another question, he said though the Centre has been considering Tamil Nadu's request for medical oxygen and allotting it, there was a 'problem' in respect of procuring coronavirus vaccines and the state government has been urging the union government to ensure supplies.

In view of the pandemic, there were constraints in visiting Delhi and calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and if circumstances favoured, he would go to the national capital and 'seek rightfully, the funds and other facilities for Tamil Nadu.' Medical and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian said that Modi, in a virtual meet, lauded the state government and the CM for its virus related initiatives like the 'car ambulance' and favoured its replication in the rest of the country. PTI VGN APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR