The Tamil Nadu government on Friday extended the ongoing Covid-induced lockdown in the state till August 23. The state government has also proposed to resume physical classes for students from classes IX to XII from September 1 and allow re-opening of medical colleges in the state from August 16.
Chief Minister of the State M K Stalin arrived at this decision after reviewing the Covid-19 situation with medical experts in the light of a marginal rise in the cases of late in the State. The medical experts expressed the need to re-open the schools as the students were reportedly experiencing mental stress since they were confined to their homes for months. This was also reportedly creating learning gaps in society, the Chief Minister said in a statement. Further, many children have no access to online education, he said.
"Considering the opinion of various sections, it has been proposed to re-start schools for classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 with 50 percent of students from September 1 in adherence to Covid-19 standard operating procedure," Stalin said. The Department of School Education has been asked to start preliminary work in this connection, he added.
Further, medical colleges, institutions of nursing, and related ones can resume functioning from August 16. Students and teachers of these institutions have been already inoculated with Covid vaccines, he said.
In the previous relaxation, schools, colleges, theaters, bars, and swimming pools remained closed. Industrial Training Institutes, industrial schools, etc. were allowed to open with 50 percent students on a rotational basis. A Maximum of 50 people was allowed to attend a wedding function and 20 people were allowed for funerals. Activities already permitted were only allowed in containment zones. Interstate private and public bus services have remained closed.
Local bodies should ensure the prevention of crowding in the meat and fish markets for which separate shops should be put up, said the Chief Minister.
Commercial establishments must have hand sanitizers at the entry point and thermal-screen customers besides ensure social distancing, he said. Violation of these regulations would entail action, the Chief Minister said. To control the pandemic, test-track-treat-vaccination-Covid-19 appropriate behavior and micro-level management programs would be implemented, he said.
In containment zones, only essential services such as medical services should be allowed while teams would conduct door-to-door checks, he said.
People should avoid venturing out unnecessarily, refrain from crowding, and strictly follow Covid protocols, he said. Officials should launch initiatives to create awareness on the coronavirus and take steps to prevent its further spread, he said.
Tamil Nadu has reported 25,69,398 so far, of which 20,138 are active cases, and 34230 deaths so far.