Chennai: An expert committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government on tackling COVID-19, on Thursday said the ongoing lockdown scheduled to end on May 3 cannot be lifted across the state uniformly, but only a graded exit was possible.
The team's observation came on a day when the state registered its highest single-day spike in positive cases of coronavirus at 161, of which this metropolis alone reported 138.
The expert group held discussions with Chief Minister K Palaniswami on the Covid-19 situation in Tamil Nadu, Prabhdeep Kaur, a key member of the panel, later told reporters.
She also said lifestyle changes with increased focus on personal hygiene will be a key aspect as "this virus is going to be with us for a long time."
Kaur said testing has been increased in the last two weeks and therefore more cases have also been detected. But the distribution of the cases was not equal across the state as there was an increase in some districts while dip in others. "Therefore the situation is not equal," she said.
On the relaxation of lockdown, she said it "cannot be relaxed in all parts at the same time. The situation is not conducive for complete relaxing," of the curbs.
The expert panel has suggested "indicators" both from the epidemiological as well as the health system prepardness points, and based on that the government can decide on removal of lockdown in particular areas.
"But even if the lockdown is lifted, it can be done gradually only," she said and called for lifestyle changes to handle the pandemic situation.
Especially, there can be no relaxation on curbs against mass gatherings, she said.
Noting that the virus will be "with us for a long time," the penal member said measures like social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing masks in public places will play an important role in the fight against the contagion.
Kaur also stressed on the need to "protect vulnerable groups" like senior citizens and those with cancer and kindey ailments, besides the diabetics, saying they should take proper medical treatment.