(Eds: Adds details) Chennai, May 8 (PTI) Three men died of COVID-19 and as many as 600 people tested positive for coronavirus on Friday taking the aggregate number of cases in Tamil Nadu to 6,009, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said.
Of the total 4,361 active cases as on date, 1,589 were linked to the Koyambedu market here, according to a health department bulletin.
The market for vegetables, flowers and fruits here is seen as the biggest hotspot for the spread of the contagion in Tamil Nadu eclipsing the earlier single source (a Delhi event in which about 1,500 people from Tamil Nadu had taken part in March) for the dispersion of the virus.
The market is barred for public now and it is being shifted to suburban Tirumazhisai and Chief Minister K Palaniswami is expected to inspect arrangements at the new, makeshift premises.
Tamil Nadu has been recording consistently more than 500 cases in recent days.
As seen in earlier days, there were a number of children below 10 years among the newly infected.
Chennai, which had all along been on the top of the list of districts of coronavirus positive cases added 399 new cases today crossing the 3,000 mark.
Totally, 3,043 people have tested positive for the virus in Chennai and on Thursday, the aggreagate number here was 2,644.
Cuddalore, as was the case in recent days, continued to be the second district with more (390) cases.
Dharmapuri (4) and Pudukottai (5) were among the districts that had least number of cases.
Following the three deaths, the number of fatalities in the state has risen to 40.
Two men hailing from here -a 78-year old and another 56-year-old- and a 83-year-old man died of COVID-19 at government hospitals on Thursday, the Minister said, adding they had co-morbid conditions.
The octogenarian died at Tirunelveli and the other two men here.
Of the 600 who tested positive, 405 were men and 195 women, he said.
Tamil Nadu's mortalitiy rate is 0.68 per cent which showed a high level of surveillance and quality of treatment,Vijayabaskar said.
Also, immunity boosting multi-vitamins and Indian system of medicine based formulations besides a good diet were being followed, he said.
On the rising numbers, the minister said: 'The public need not have apprehensions about the number of positive cases.
It is because of aggressive testing of people including those with severe acute respiratory infections and ordinary (flu like) symptoms like cough.
Tamil Nadu has tested 2,16,416 samples, the highest number in the entire country and a bigger State like Maharashtra has done 2,02,105 tests till this morning, he said.
'We are doing more tests than States that have more population and that is why a number of new positive cases are emerging and we are transparent.' Also, the testing facilities in Tamil Nadu are the highest in India at 52 including 36 in government and 16 in private sectors, the Minister said.
The State has been effectively tackling the cluster of cases emerging from single sources like a religious congregation in Delhi previously and now the Koyambedu market, he pointed out.
Tamil Nadu government, meanwhile, said 2,570 more nurses have been appointed on contract for six months in continuing efforts to further ramp-up the health infrastructure to tackle COVID-19 scenario.
The fresh recruitment comes close on the heels of appointment of 530 doctors, 2,323 nurses, 1,508 lab technicians and 2,715 health inspectors through the Medical Services Recruitment Board.
The bulletin said 58 patients were discharged today from various hospitals after recovery and till date 1,605 have overcome the illness caused by the contagion. PTI VGN BN WELCOME BN WELCOME