Chennai, Feb 18 (PTI) Tamil Nadu has added 457 new COVID-19 cases aggregating to 8,46,937 in the state, while six more fatalities pushed the toll to 12,444, the Health department said on Thursday.
Recoveries outnumbered the new infections with 470 people recovering and the total number of those cured in the state so far grew to 8,30,320 a bulletin said.
The number of active cases stood at 4,173.
Chennai's caseload increased to 2,33,936, the maximum among the districts, with 138 people contracting the contagion.
The metropolis also accounted for a little over one- third of the COVID-19 fatalities at 4,131 deaths.
A 58-year old man from Chennai was the lone victim to the virus without having any chronic illness or comorbidity while the remaining five were ailing with pre-existing morbidity.
As many as 24 districts in the state reported new infections in single digits, while 34 districts reported zero fatalities, the bulletin said.
Two districts-Ariyalur and Kallakurichi- recorded 'nil' fresh cases, respectively, on Thursday.
A total of 51,101 samples were tested on Thursday, taking the total specimens examined so far to 1,69,67,271 so far.
Three individuals who tested positive on Thursday include returnees from Maharashtra and Bihar.
Meanwhile, the bulletin said three more returnees from the United Kingdom have tested COVID-19 positive taking the overall number of passengers contracting the contagion till date to 34 till date.
As many as 2,161 UK returnees arrived between February 8 and February 18 and 1,841 people were traced and tested of which 10 tested positive while 1,816 tested negative.
Results of 15 passengers were awaited, the bulletin said.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters that the government also commenced close monitoring of those returnees from South Africa and Brazil where new strains of virus were reported apart from those returned from the United Kingdom.
To a query, he said the government has made a request to the Centre to expedite the vaccination programme for people in the age group of 50 years and above, and those patients who are below the age of 50 years which was originally scheduled to commence from the middle of March.
'People above the age of 50 years, media persons, and those belonging to various political parties have expressed desire to take up vaccine shots. We have requested the Centre to consider them on priority,' he said.
Radhakrishnan said the government has also made a request that those involved in poll related work be considered on priority.
Appealing to people to mandatorily wear masks while going out, he pointed out that it has become a challenge in places like Nasik, Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai and also in neighbouring Kerala to control the spread of the virus.
'You would also have read a media report that a residential complex in Bengaluru logging over 100 cases recently. Our repeated request is that people should wear masks and wash their hands regularly to protect themselves from the virus,' he said.
Referring to the number of daily cases in Tamil Nadu hovering at around 450 plus cases per day and the state capital logging about 140, he said, with Tamil Nadu testing about 50,000 RT-PCR samples, it (logging 450 cases per day) was not at all satisfactory.
'People should not think that the caseload is decreasing in Tamil Nadu...they should mandatorily wear masks when they are taking part in functions where a large number of people congregate. The disease can spread even from one person,' he said.
To a query, he said the State was having sufficient doses of both Covidshield and Covaxin at its facilities.PTI VIJ SS PTI PTI