Six more Covid19 patients have tested positive and have been hospitalised, taking the total number of cases to 35 in Tamil Nadu. Unofficial reports said two each from Chennai, Madurai and Erode have tested positive and have been quarantined in hospital.
The Union Health Ministry website, however, in its update on Friday morning put the number of cases in the State at 23, six of them foreigners. Of these, one had died and one had been discharged, it said. This is because Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar is not making his updates current in his report to the Centre.
Even if we go by the official figure given by the Union Health Ministry, the number of cases has jumped from 12 as recently as on Monday to 23 in four days. .
In his twitter on March 23, Vijayabhaskar reported three more cases, but he did not give the total. This is what he said:: " #coronaupdate: 3 new #COVID19 positive cases in TN. 25 Y M Purasavakkam, London return at #RGGH. 48 Y M Tiruppur,London return at #ESI Hosp. 54 Y M,MDU - Annanagar at #Rajaji Hosp. All 3 in isolation & treatment. @MoHFW_INDIA @CMOTamilNadu #Vijayabaskar."
He told television channels that the 54-year-old Madurai man had no history of foreign travel. After he died in hospital, Vijayabhaskar however said the patient had a history of high blood pressure and sugar and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
When speculation started whether it was the first case of community transmission, the Minister disclosed that the patient had accompanied four Thai nationals on their visits to local mosques and that two of them later tested positive.
Meanwhile, with the Tamil Nadu Government extending till April 14, the State-wide prohibitory orders under Sec 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the number of violators has increased. Normally these orders are area specific and time specific and they are issued by local magistrate to tackle maintain law and order and public peace. But in view of the extraordinary situation, the Government has brought the entire State under ban order.
The Centre, after the Prime Minister announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, invoked Sec 2 of the Epidemic Acts which empowers the Central and state Governments to take necessary measures to tackle epidemic when normal laws are not enough.
It empowers the authority to imprison up to six months violators of such regulations under Sec 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
But despite repeated appeals by the Prime Minister and the State Chief Minister, the people especially the youngsters have not realised the gravity of the situation. As a result of the number of cases of those who violated the ban order has jumped to 4500 in just two days. The problem is that they cannot be kept in custody as jails are already overcrowded.
The police therefore, cane, advise or plead with bikers and motorists to comply with the stay at home order. To go into this situation, the Government has set up a committee of six IPS officers .
The Government is also to blame as it has not made any arrangement for home delivery of essentials like vegetables, meat, fruits and medicines. To avoid human interaction, the government has also barred online service providers like Uber and Swiggy from delivering food at home because of the quarantine.