Nation Current Affairs 19 Apr 2020 Tamil Nadu hopeful o ...

Tamil Nadu hopeful of flattening the curve as Covid cases witness a dip

Published Apr 19, 2020, 12:34 pm IST
Updated Apr 19, 2020, 12:34 pm IST
Medics arrange samples of a new fast test (Rapid test) for coronavirus at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. (PTI)
 Medics arrange samples of a new fast test (Rapid test) for coronavirus at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. (PTI)

Chennai: Among the top four states in the country with most COVID-19 infections, Tamil Nadu has started witnessing a dip in the number of new cases during last week and is now optimistic of flattening the curve in the coming days.

The recent daily numbers have been showing a decline and authorities attribute the trend to a multi-pronged approach adopted by the government to stem the spread of the deadly virus that has so far claimed 15 lives in the state.

"The last three days saw a decline in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, indicating our efforts in monitoring and an effective monitoring at that, appropriate prevention measures and containment plans are beginning to pay results," Health minister C Vijayabaskar said on Saturday.

Positive cases in Tamil Nadu kept rising steeply from the beginning of this month largely due to more people who returned the Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi and their contacts testing positive in various parts of the state, which is in the fourth spot country-wide with 1,372 cases.

In fact, as much as 84 per cent of the cases in Tamil Nadu is linked to the last month's Islamic congregation in Nizamuddin in Delhi that has turned out to be the biggest hotspot for coronavirus in the country.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal had on Saturday said in Delhi that most of the Markaz event-related cases have been found in states with a high burden of the disease, such as Tamil Nadu (84 per cent), Telangana (79 per cent), Delhi (63 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (59 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (61 per cent).

One of the reasons cited by the health officials in Tamil Nadu for the now dwindling numbers is that the government has tested all the estimated 1,500 Tabhligi event returnees, who were suspected to have been infected with the virus.

With a spurt in the increase in the number of cured -- 365 as of April 18 -- the state administration led by chief minister K Palaniswami is optimistic that its fight against the pandemic will flatten the curve in the coming days and perhaps even the new cases might reach "zero" soon.

"Since we have adopted a multi-pronged approach, we are heading towards a good situation," Vijayabaskar said in an apparent reference to the flattening of the curve, like neighbouring Kerala.

Though Tamil Nadu reported 49 new positive cases on Saturday, taking the total number to 1,372, the number of infected has been largely declining since Monday last.

After 98 positive cases on April 13, the state recorded 31 the next day, 38 cases on Wednesday, 25 on Thursday, 56 on Friday and 49 on Saturday.

Nearly 30 people among the Tablighi meet attendees, who were later officially referred to as "single-source", were discharged on recovery from different hospitals.

In hotspots like Chennai, which has the highest number of infected people in the state, the civic body has been keeping a tab on the residents, carrying out door knocks through its health staff to ascertain if any new case is reported, besides containment measures such as sealing of localities.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has already made out a list of persons with co-morbid health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and other vulnerable sections including the senior citizens.

"Since the first COVID-19 case was reported on March 8, the health department has mobilised teams to step up vigil and took appropriate preventive measures, and the government upscaled the special COVID-19 ward facilities in Chennai and in several districts government hospitals," a senior health official said.

Those with travel history and their relatives were monitored, he added.

On the 15 fatalities due to COVID-19 in the state, Vijayabaskar insists the mortality rate of 1.1 per cent was the 'lowest.'

Another factor that worked in favour of the government was the effective awareness campaign initiated by it.

"Majority of the people complied with the curfew and are staying indoors. This is a great support to Tamil Nadu government to contain COVID-19 spread," the minister said.

Also, virus tests are conducted even on those with influenza-like illness (ILI) and "positive cases are under control," he said.

State health secretary Beela Rajesh has been instrumental in identifying vulnerable groups among the population, including pregnant women, and ensuring the patients having other ailments had their regular dose of medicines without any hindrance, officials said.

Rajesh is a medical doctor as well, much like the state health minister.

Officials pointed out that when the number of positive cases spiked, the state rolled out a series of proactive measures under the guidance of the chief minister.

It announced a statewide lockdown a day ahead of prime minister Narendra Modi's announcement on a similar nationwide exercise last month.

Also, sealing of Tamil Nadu borders when Kerala and Karnataka reported more number of COVID-19 cases and temporary suspension of all transport services early last month effectively contributed to the state's fight against coronavirus, the officials added.

Location: India, Tamil Nadu


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