The rate of infection of Covid infection doubled in one day on Monday from 266 to 527. While the number of cases doubled to 527 in Chennai, the total number of cases in the State also doubled to 3550 from 1750 ten days ago. With one more death reported, the toll reached 31, the health department said in an update.
Half of the new cases originated from the Koyambedu wholesale market in Chennai which accounted for nearly 300 infections. Cuddalore accounted for 129 cases, neighbouring Villupuram 76, Chennai 63, neighbouring Kanchipuram seven and Ariyalur 42.
As Koyambedu has emerged as a new cluster, the vegetable market is being temporarily shifted to Tirumaizhisai on the outskirts of Chennai from Tuesday. Already, fruit and flower shops have been moved out to Madhavaram bus terminus.
As Cuddalore and Villupuram had nearly 140 new cases, the infection spread to neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry. As district hospitals in Tamil Nadu do not have quarantine facilities to handle such large numbers, patients in Villupuram, Cuddalore and other border towns are being shifted to JIPMER in Puducherry.
The Tamil Nadu health department said that 12,863 throat swabs were taken on Monday, of which 527 tested positive.
The total number of new cases in Chennai was 308, a record high. The total was 1,768. It was 570 on April 28,that is hardly a week ago.
Among those affected in Chennai was a deputy commissioner of police attached to Anna Nagar Police Station who was on duty at Koyambedu market, four healthcare personnel attached to the ESI hospital, an employee of Amma Canteen, and an employee working with Aavin milk processing plant in Madhavaram.
As milk supply is an essential service, the dairy unit was disinfected and allowed to function while the affected employee was asked to stay away.
Disaster management expert of the Tamil Nadu government and head of the task force formed to tackle the menace in Chennai, Dr J Radhakrishnan, however told reporters that high numbers should not cause panic as the fatality rate was just one per cent.