(Eds: Adds details, combines related stories) Chennai, Apr 29 (PTI) Setting in motion the process for graded exit from COVID-19 lockdown, the Tamil Nadu government on Wendesday asked district collectors to work on a war footing towards resumption of normalcy and announced task forces in red zones while the tally of cases touched 2,162.
Holding a virtual meet with just four days left for the extended lockdown to end, Chief Minister K Palaniswami asked district collectors to suggest industries that may be allowed to work and asked them to strengthen containment measures to convert red zones into green.
The metropolis of Chennai continued to give nightmares to officials reporting 94 fresh COVID-19 cases out of the total 104 in the state on Wednesday, where two persons died due to the disease, taking the toll to 27,the health department said.
For the second day in a row, the state reported 100 plus positive cases with the capital city accounting for a lion's share as its cumulative tally rose to 768.
'Chennai is a big city. More people reside here. Further, many visit the city. Moreover, there are narrow streets where a large population lives and due to this, the virus easily spreads from one person to another. This is the reason for the increased spread of the disease here,' Palaniswami said.
Incidentally, the four-day complete lockdown in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore Corporation limits, enforced to bring down the spread, ended on Wednesday.
Krishnagiri in western Tamil Nadu continued to be the sole green district with nil cases so far.
Chairing the review meet through video conferencing from the state Secretariat, Palaniswami tasked collectors to rush a report on industries and work that can be accorded staggered nod based on COVID-19 scenario in their respective regions, setting in motion the process of a gradual exit from the lockdown.
'Steps must be taken on a war footing to convert red and orange zones into green by taking up appropriate anti- contagion measures so that people could expeditiously resume their normal lives,' he said.
Also, Palaniswami announced field task forces headed by IAS officials in the red zone districts of Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tirupur and Salem, where the number of cases are more, for taking up a host of activities, including speeding up contagion prevention and curbing movement of people.
A 65-year old man died at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Wednesday and samples of a 27-year old woman, who died on Monday at another state-run hospital, turned positive for the virus, a health department bulletin said.
Four children, aged between two and six, were among the newly infected.
A total of 82 people were discharged, taking the total number of those recovered in the state to 1,210.
While the number of active cases stood at 922, those in home quarantine and state facilities were 30,580 and 48 respectively.
As many as 7,886 people were tested on Wednesday with the cumulative total pegged at 1,01,075.
Ramping up the testing infrastructure, the government said three more facilities, including one here, have been approved for testing COVID-19, in addition to the existing 41 labs.
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