Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday inaugurated a 750-bed high-tech diagnostic COVID-19 facility here, with equipment on par with institutions like the AIIMS.
Ruling out the possibility of an intense lockdown again (in Chennai), the chief minister said the virus spread would further come down with better adherence to guidelines.
"I don't think there is a scope for it. This (prevention) is in the hands of the people," he told reporters after inaugurating the new facility, when asked if there was a chance for another spell of intensive lockdown.
He asserted that there was no social transmission of the virus in the state and noted that the recovery rate was 57.85 per cent (the rest includes those being treated and dead).
The Rs 136.68 crore facility has come up on the premises of the National Institute of Ageing at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine complex at Guindy in Chennai.
An expert panel has been set up for providing treatment and specialists have been deputed from other government hospitals, the chief minister said.
As many as 100 doctors, 90 nurses and 100 other personnel have been deployed at the facility which has high tech diagnostic equipment, including CT-scan and ultra sonogram, in addition to amenities like ventilators and Wi-fi, he said. "This is a high-tech hospital on par with institutions like AIIMS and JIPMER," he said.
While 300 beds have been earmarked for intensive care, the other beds were for other categories of COVID-19 patients with mild and moderate symptoms, the Chief Minister said.
Across Tamil Nadu, there are 31,668 beds ready for occupation, of which 22,595 are in government hospitals and 9,073 in private sector hospitals, he said. In Chennai, there are 13,564 beds, 7,815 in government and 5,749 in private hospitals.
In COVID Care Centres (for people with mild symptoms and for those who do not need treatment in tertiary care centres), across Tamil Nadu, there are 75,000 beds and in the state capital, 17,500 beds, Palaniswami said.
To another question on the of extension of intense lockdown, Palaniswami indicated that it was not feasible to indefinitely extend curbs considering the economy and the livelihood options of people. Continuation of restrictions could affect the economy and earnings of the people, he said.
"Livelihood is a very big challenge. The government has to see livelihood as well," he said, adding that on the one side the virus spread has to be reined in and on the other, the government should also look at people's livelihood opportunities.
"In Chennai, through the intense lockdown, we are seeing a reduction in the spread of the virus in a phased manner," he said, adding the government's efforts have paid off. In Madurai, the intense lockdown is on till July 12.
On the rise in virus cases in some districts, the chief minister underscored the importance of people following guidelines on prevention. Batting for active public cooperation, he said the government had all along been taking preventive measures.
Outlining initiatives like fever camps and door to door surveys in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, he said such measures have ensured the virus spread "is under control".
On DMK president MK Stalin's demand for Rs 5,000 assistance for ration card holders, he listed out several welfare measures. Essential commodities, including rice and cooking oil, were distributed free of cost in PDS outlets and cash assistance of Rs 1,000 was provided to people, he said.
Also, another round of Rs 1,000 was disbursed in Chennai and Madurai when the intense lockdown was announced again, he said. Asked if coronavirus was airborne, he said there was no complete information on that aspect. If there were new inputs on that count, the government would follow such guidelines as well from the experts, he said.
More than 200 scientists from 32 nations had written to the WHO, saying there is evidence that coronavirus is airborne and even smaller particles can infect people.