Chennai Corporation has increased the number of containment zones in the city to around 233 as the new cases have touched an alarmingly high level of 906 in the last three days despite intense lockdown.
Corporation Commissioner Prakash told reporters that those not observing social distancing would be fined and put on 14-day isolation. He has also said no one would be allowed to come out without face masks.
According to figures released by the Chennai corporation, the three northern areas of Royapuram (189) cases, adjoining Ti Ru Vi Ka Nagar(160) and Tondiarpet (77), all predominantly labour areas, have accounted for more than half of the 900 plus cases in the city.
Equally high number of cases have been reported from southern zones like Anna Nagar( 73), Teynampet (85) and Kodambakkam (63).
Prakash blames the high incidence in the city as a whole on high population and in north Chennai on population density.
The only way to contain is that seal an area of seven km even if one case is reported in one area So far over 200 such containment zones have been declared. People in these zones cannot come out for 14 days ,nor can any one enter their streets.
While the lockdown is due to end on May 3 in Tamil Nadu, it is likely to be extended as Chennai which is in the red zone is likely to see an extension with restrictions continuing maybe for another fortnight.
The only relaxation the government has announced is that grocery and vegetable and fruit shops as well malls will be allowed to be open till 1 p.m. Because of restricted time for purchase of essentials, people tend to crowd around markets, not only in Chennai but also in other cities and towns in the State.
But the Government insists that social distancing should be maintained in these shops. More than in grocery shops, it is in vegetable and fruit markets that people crowd, as can be seen in the spread of Covid in Koyambedu market which at last count has reported 38 cases, leading to shifting of fruits and flowers shops from there to Madhavaram bus terminus.
Besides these shops, several other utitilities shops remain shut, like for example home appliances. So much so the Madras High Court on a petition has asked the Government whether these shops and also their maintenance staff to work.