In an all-out effort to battle COVID-19, Tamil Nadu will face a lockdown from 6 p.m. on Tuesday to 6 a.m. on April 1, with prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in place and all district borders closed. The State invoked provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to impose the restrictions.
The Puducherry Cabinet too recommended a lockdown from 9 p.m. on Monday to March 31.
The lockdown announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in the Assembly was followed by a detailed notification from Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam in the evening. “People are required to stay at home and come out only for accessing basic and essential services, strictly follow social distancing norms and maintain a distance of 1m or 3 feet. Any congregation of more than five persons in public places is prohibited,” he said.
The Chief Minister said all shops and commercial establishments would remain closed except those selling provisions, milk, vegetables, meat and fish. Pharmacies too were exempt. He said that the Centre had sent out an advisory to combat COVID-19 in many districts of the country. Except essential transport services, public and private transport, omnibuses, autos and taxis would not be allowed to ply. “All transportation, except for essential commute (and transportation of goods), between States and districts has been banned,” he said. There is no bar on the use of personal vehicles.
Mr. Palaniswami said that government offices, other than those dealing with essential services, would not function. The Chief Minister announced that Amma Unavagams would continue to feed thousands of workers. Only takeaway would be allowed in restaurants but delivery services like Swiggy and Zomato would not operate.
“We hope this notification will help control the spread of COVID-19. Police have been instructed to ensure that prohibitory orders are implemented,” the Chief Secretary told The Hindu.