'Policy decisions on restrictions in containment zones after discussions with experts'

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Chennai, Apr 5 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said that policy decisions on imposing restrictions in containment zones and other steps not to affect the public would be taken after dicsussions with experts in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

'As the chief secretary (Rajeev Ranjan) has said, restrictions will be imposed based on requirements after discussing with experts and also ensuring that people do not get affected,'health secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters.

He asked people not to pay heed to rumours, especially in the social media, that another total lockdown would be imposed after polling day on April 6, in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases.

To a question, he said the surge was due to people not following COVID-19 guidelines like wearing masks or maintaining social distancing and participating in functions in large numbers.

'Our appeal is wear masks, avoid unnecessary travel or taking part in functions like marriages and funerals in large numbers.' Citing an example, he said 14 members in a residential complex in Tiruchirappalli recently tested positive, showing that people were not serious about dangers of its spread.

Radhakrishnan said the government, under the 'test-track- treat' strategy, would resume door to door surveillance in places which report higher number of cases and hold fever camps from April 7.

Campaigns would also be conducted, urging those who are eligible to get vaccinated, to take the shots, he said.

'Since there was a model code of conduct before the polls, there was difficulty in holding the campaign.

Now we will be able to hold the camps appealing to people who are eligible to come forward to take the jab', he said.

Radhakrishnan said necessary COVID-19 safety guidelines would be followed in polling booths on Tuesday, with deployment of health care personnel.

'People should compulsorily wear masks before entering the booths. Their temperature will be checked and sanitisers will be provided before they cast their votes,' he said.

Those whose temperature exceeds 100 degrees or more and COVID-19 positive patients would be allowed to cast votes between 6 pm and 7 pm after wearing Personal Protective Equipment, he said.

To a query about the test positivity rate in Tamil Nadu, he said seven districts, including the state capital, have recorded high percentages and added that the department would lay special emphasis on bringing it down to below five per cent, as prescribed by the Centre.

Currently, Chennai leads in the test positivity rate at 8.1 per cent, followed by Ranipet 7.39 per cent and Theni 6.85 per cent, he said. PTI VIJ APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR