TN reports 945 new COVID-19 cases, eight fatalities

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Chennai, Mar 17 (PTI): Tamil Nadu on Wednesday recorded 945 new COVID-19 infections and eight deaths. With this, the caseload to 8,62,374 while the fatalities took the toll to 12,564, the Health Department said.

The state has been reporting new infections above 500 since March 5 while recoveries have been remaining low. Recoveries were lesser today as against the new infections with 576 patients being discharged, taking the cumulative number to 8,43,999 leaving 5,811 active cases, a health bulletin said.

Chennai accounted for most of the new infections with 395 cases being reported, aggregating 2,39,878 till date.

The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,187.

Among the eight fatalities, Chennai accounted for five while Chengalpet, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai recorded one each.

A 30-year-old woman ailing with diabetes mellitus was among the deceased due to COVID-19 pneumonia, the bulletin said.

A total of 71,888 samples were tested today, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 1,84,85,460.

Chengalpet and Coimbatore reported new cases in triple digits with 103 and 107 people contracting the contagion respectively.

Perambalur was the lone district to clock nil fresh cases while active infections were at seven.

Seven individuals, who returned from the West Bengal, Kerala and Bihar were among those who tested positive today, the bulletin said.

Earlier in the day, Chief secretary Rajeev Ranjan and senior officials representing health and family welfare, revenue and police, among others, took part in an online video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the pandemic situation and ongoing vaccination drive.

Later talking to reporters after reviewing the COVID-19 ward at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, Health secretary J Radhakrishnan said the government has requested the Centre to decrease the vaccination age- limit from the current 60 and above to 50 years and above to cover a larger section of people.

'We have requested the Centre to reduce the age-limit from 60 to 50 years to get vaccination.We appeal to those engaged in public activity and are above the age of 45 with co- morbidity to get vaccinated', he said.

What medical experts have identified is that there is a laxity among the public since the fresh cases have come down while fatality was also below 10 a day, he said.

'In February, there were weddings, birthdays and funerals and in March there is increased political activity. However, people while taking part in those functions tend to avoid wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,' he said.

The appeal from the government is that it is a virus and can affect anyone.

People who are part of gatherings should follow the government laid down standard operating procedures, he said.

Districts like Chennai, Coimbatore, Chengalpet, Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Tiruppur, Thanjavur were posing a challenge in containing the spread of virus, he said in reply to a query. PTI VIJ NVG NVG