TN adds 1,437 fresh COVID-19 cases, 9 fatalities push toll to

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12,618 Chennai, Mar 23 (PTI) There was no let-up in the surge in COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu as the state logged 1,437 infections, pushing the tally to 8.69 lakh, while 10 more deaths took the toll to 12,618, the Health department said on Tuesday.

The state saw the number of cases cross the 1,000 mark on March 19 after over an 80-day gap, when it touched 1,087.

Recoveries on Tuesday were lesser with 902 patients being discharged, taking the cumulative number to 8,48,041 leaving 9,145 active cases, a bulletin said.

Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 532 cases being reported, aggregating 2,42,647 till date.

After a gap of over three months, Chennai was reporting over 500 cases.

It was on November 15, 2020 the State capital registered 502 cases since then the new cases were coming down gradually.

The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,206.

Among the nine dead, a 62-year old man was the only one without any comorbidities.

A total of 76,128 samples were tested on Tuesday, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 1,89,30,484.

Chengalpet was behind Chennai in the number of infections with 149 cases and Coimbatore 146, while the rest were scattered among other districts.

Nine people who returned from Saudi Arabia, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam were among those who tested positive on Tuesday, the bulletin said.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan reviewed the measures taken up in view of rising COVID-19 infections with senior government officials, World Health Organisation Chief Scientist Sowmya Swaminathan and representatives from the Indian Medical Association and Indian Council of Medical Research.

During the meeting, various topics including prevalence of 'COVID-19 fatigue' among the public as people stopped wearing masks or not maintaining social distancing while venturing out as the reason for the rise in infections were discussed, an official release said.

Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said Tamil Nadu was the only state to undertake 100 per cent RT-PCTR testing and the daily sample testing has been increased from the earlier 50,000 to 75,000 a day due to increase in new cases.

If a particular locality has been identified with more than three COVID-19 cases, it would be announced as a 'mini containment area' and precautionary measures taken to contain the virus spread, he said.

Since March 16, the government has collected Rs 97.80 lakh as fine from 42,250 people who violated standard operating procedures laid out by the government.

Medical experts who took part in the meeting with the chief secretary suggested that the government undertake Whole Genome Sequencing tests in places where cluster of COVID-19 cases were reported in the state.

The experts group requested the state government to ensure that vaccination was expedited in districts which reported a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Later at the review meeting, it was decided that classes in colleges be conducted through online mode for those students who were not into final year of graduation.

It was also decided that strict action should be taken against organisers who violated the COVID-19 protocol of allowing only 50 per cent occupancy during functions as instructed by the government.

People using public transport should wear masks while traveling and it has to be ensured by the transportation authorities concerned.PTI VIJ APR SS PTI PTI