After Maharashtra, TN Extends Lockdown Till July 31; Intensive Curbs in Chennai and Madurai Till July 5

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday announced an extension of the statewide lockdown till July 31. Meanwhile, Chennai and Madurai will continue to be under intense lockdown till July 5.

Government and private bus transport services, now allowed within districts barring Chennai, its nearby areas and Madurai would cease to be operational from July 1 to 15, the government said.

For travel within a district, e-pass will not be needed though it was necessary for inter-district and inter-state travel, an official release here said.

On all the four Sundays in July, intense lockdown will be in force across Tamil Nadu and only health care services, including pharmacies and hospitals, will be functional.

While restrictions for Chennai, Madurai and other nearby areas of these two cities would ease from July 6, in other parts of Tamil Nadu, the current relaxations and curbs shall continue to be in force till July 31.

With easing of norms from July 6, the relaxations previously available for Chennai and Madurai, including extended business hours for outlets selling essentials, will come into force again and be in place till July 31.

International air travel, inter-state bus transport, metro and suburban rails, social gatherings, political, cultural, entertainment and sporting events and processions are all banned, the government said, adding graded relaxations would be announced based on the virus transmission rates.

Schools, colleges, malls, resorts, lodges, cinema halls, and bars would continue to be shut and religious congregations and prayers in places of worship in urban regions are banned. Worship would be allowed in villages by following norms, including social distancing.

For gatherings related to weddings and deaths, more than 50 people should not assemble.

Travel to tourist places like Nilgiris, Kodaikanal and Yercaud for non-residents and for tourism purposes will not be allowed, an official release said.

An expert panel, set up to advise government on tackling COVID-19, in a consultative meeting chaired by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, said public transport had contributed to a rise in transmission in several districts.

Tamil Nadu's tally of virus cases stood at 86,224 while Chennai's share was 55,969 and fresh cases continued to surge with 3,949 cases on Monday.