(Eds: Updates with two new positive cases) Chennai, Mar 22 (PTI) Three persons tested positive for coronavirus in Tamil Nadu,taking the total confirmed cases to nine, as people fully backed the 'janta curfew' call while the government extended the curb till Monday morning and announced suspension of inter-state bus and Metro rail services here till March 31.
The state came to a virtual standstill on Sunday with roads, bus stands and railway stations wearing a deserted look and shops downing shutters in solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to people to stay put in their houses to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Authorities said buses were deployed to help scores of migrant labourers stranded at the Central Railway station here.
Health Minister C Vijyabaskar in tweets confirmed the three new cases -- returnees from Spain, US and Dubai.
'#corona update: A traveller from Spain tests #Covid_19 positive. Patient is undergoing treatment in isolation. @MoHFW_INDIA #Vijayabaskar.' In another tweet, he said: #coronaupdate: 2 new positive cases of #Covid19. 64 Y F, traveled from California, under isolation at Stanley Med College. 43 Y M, returned from Dubai, under isolation at Tirunelveli Med College. Both the pts are stable.' On Saturday, three new positive cases, including two Thai nationals were confirmed.
As of Sunday, as many as 2,05,396 passengers had been screened and 9,424 were under the monitoring of authorities.
Totally, there are nine positive patients now in Tamil Nadu while one of them,a 45-year old man from Kancheepuram, has been discharged.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami meanwhile, in a brief statement, said Metro rail and inter-state bus services will be suspended till March 31.
The government had already shut state borders with neighbours, including Karnataka and Kerala, while allowing trucks ferrying essential commodities.
Meanwhile, citing the Centre's move to lockdown 75 districts -- from where coronavirus cases were reported- including Chennai, Kancheepuram and Erode, DMK's president MK Stalin said the Chief Minister should issue appropriate orders ensuring that people's basic needs are not affected.
The main opposition party's top leader said essential needs, including food, should be ensured for marginalised people like daily wage earners, pavement dwellers and those living on alms during the lockdown.
He also wanted adjournment of the ongoing assembly session from Monday.
Stalin said his party MLAs and MPs will donate one month's salary to the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund to help workers of the unorganised sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic. He also demanded the government to defer the 11th and 12th class board examinations.
PMK, an ally of the ruling AIADMK, favoured a lockdown till March 31 across Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the state government extended the 'janta curfew' till 5 am tomorrow.
While the support of people, traders, industries and other sections of the society was visible on Sunday, the government acknowledged their 'cooperation' and said the curfew scheduled to end at 9 pm on Sunday 'will continue till 5 am tomorrow considering people's welfare.' An official release here said there was no bar to continuation of essential services and appealed to people to extend their full cooperation.
Public and private buses, autos and taxis stayed off the roads in most parts of the state. Metro Rail services were not operated.
Similar was the scenario in other cities and towns of the state such as Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli and Madurai.
However, the low-cost eatery chain 'Amma Canteen' run by local bodies across Tamil Nadu were open and came as a boon to migrant labourers and workers since all other eateries were shut.
In the evening, at the stroke of five o clock, the Chief Minister led the state in thanking those involved in essential services to combat the spread of coronavirus by clapping hands.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other state Ministers honoured the personnel like doctors and sanitary workers by clapping in their respective residences.
Interestingly, weddings at several places in Tamil Nadu turned out to be low-key affairs with only close relatives of the bride and groom taking part.
In neighbouring Kancheepuram, a wedding took place at the home of the groom with only a few relatives participating.
Local bodies across Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, continued with their clean up-cum-disinfection drive in public places like bus terminals and markets by spraying disinfectants.
Essential services like milk distribution and hospitals (including the state-run Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital which treats COVID-19 patients and the Stanley Hospital) functioned as usual. PTI VGN SS VS VS