TN govt defers class 12 public exam; announces Sunday

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lockdown, night curfew (Eds: Adds details) Chennai, Apr 18 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced postponement of class 12 public examination, complete lockdown on Sundays and effective April 20, night curfew from 10 pm to 4 am.

After Chief Minister K Palaniswami chaired a high level meeting here to review the COVID-19 scenario in the state, the government announced measures, including the Sunday lockdown to help prevent the rapid rise in the spread of virus.

Though the class 12 public examination is deferred, the ongoing practicals would be conducted as per plan, the government said in an official release.

Originally, the government had planned to hold the Higher Secondary Second Year exams from May 3 to May 21.

Visit to beaches, zoos, parks, monuments, museums and all tourist destinations like Nilgiris, Yercaud and Kodaikanal is barred on all days.

Information technology and IT enabled services companies should ensure work from home for at least 50 per cent of its work force, the government said.

All types of retail outlets, tea shops, groceries, restaurants, malls, jewellery and textile showrooms shall be open only till 9 pm and at any given time, customers should not be more than 50 per cent of the capacity of such premises.

Exams and classes of colleges and universities should be held online and there would be no permission for summer camps.

Special monitoring teams would be constituted in all districts to ensure strict compliance of norms to prevent virus spread.

Hospitals and hotels may team up to set up Covid Care Centres and health department would grant need-based permissions.

To encourage additional manufacture of medical oxygen in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister advised Industries Department to provide temporary licences to firms.

During the night curfew across the state, private and public transport including those by autorickshaws and taxis shall not be allowed. Intra-district and inter-state transport is also barred during the night curfew.

However, for medical emergencies and to reach railway stations or airport, private vehicles, taxis and autos are allowed to ply.

Hospitals, pharmacies, petrol outlets, continuous process industries, and those involved in manufacture of essentials are permitted to work.

Also, essential services like milk distribution and operation of ambulances, cargo and fuel trucks are permitted during the night curfew.

Full lockdown would be implemented from next Sunday, and all kinds of shops, retail outlets, fish markets, cinemas, commercial complexes shall remain shut though essential services including hospitals and important industries shall be exempt, the government said.

Tamil Nadu had last year implemented Sunday lockdowns and the government reintroducting the restriction came today when COVID-19 cases crossed the 10,000 mark for the first time during the present second wave of the pandemic.

During Sunday lockdowns, restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway services (6 am-10 am, 12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-9 pm) and food ordering and delivery firms like Swiggy and Zomato could operate only during the allowed time-slots. The only 'maximum 100' participants norm for marriages and 50 for funerals shall apply on Sundays as well.

If prior permission had been obtained from authorities, temple consecrations already planned may go ahead.

However, only a maximum of 50 people must be allowed to participate in such events. Those contemplating holding such religious events are requested to defer it, the government said.

Action would be taken against cinemas, marriage halls and restaurants if norms to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 including wearing masks, social distancing and ensuring utilisation of only 50 per cent capacity are not adhered to.

The government appealed to the people to cooperate with it to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. PTI VGN ROH ROH