Chennai: Around 253 medically well-equipped vehicles were now going from street-to-street in greater Chennai, particularly the badly affected zones, and screening people in every household for any symptoms of the virus.
On an average, 530 'fever camps' were being held daily now, and 30,000 people were being screened daily in the city alone, he said, adding, a mini-army of 14,816 including doctors, nurses and other health workers, besides policemen were involved in this massive exercise.
On 'Remdesivir', an emerging, very promising drug for curing Covid-19 that has been approved by the Centre, he said Tamil Nadu has already taken steps to import this drug in sufficient numbers to be sent to all hospitals in the State, through the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation. There were few other life-saving drugs also which the government was sending to all the district hospitals, all as per the ICMR protocol, he said, adding, 'plasma therapy' was also showing good results at RGGGH in Chennai.
Palaniswami undergoes test
Dr Vijayabaskar said the Chief Minister, Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami, as he has been going out for various public functions, volunteered to undergo a medical check-up and also took a Covid-19 test which has turned out to be negative. "He is a very open person and we share all information," he said.
At a separate press conference, the Corporation Commissioner, Mr. G. Prakash said though Anna University had agreed to part with its student hostels for setting up a Covid-19 isolation centre, "we may not need them now" as the AU has already given certain spaces in its campus where 2,000 beds have been readied.
Another 1,200 beds at IIT-Madras is also ready for any emergency, Mr. Prakash said, adding, the corporation was now holding two 'fever camps' in each of the 200 wards in the city daily.
While Tamil Nadu on Monday added another 2,710 new Covid-19 positive cases to take its total number of positive patients till date to 62,087, State Health Minister Dr C Vijaybaskar said the 'doubling time', a key norm to judge the spread of the virus-, has gone up to 17 days.
The 'doubling rate' or 'doubling time' of the novel coronavirus in Tamil Nadu which was one week - the number of days it takes for the count of infected cases to double-, has now gone up to 17 days, Dr Vijayabaskar told reporters after a meeting at the State Secretariat here.
The 'doubling time' for Covid-19 cases going up means it is taking a longer time for (infections) cases to double, which shows that "our treatment strategy is on the correct path," the Health minister said.
Of the new positive cases today, Chennai alone contributed 1,487, followed by Madurai with 153 cases. This explains the government extending the full lockdown to Madurai. Another 37 deaths confirmed by the Health department took the State's death toll due to the virus to 794.
However, Dr. Vijayabaskar who was giving an overview of the big picture of the progression of the disease in the State said, Tamil Nadu with 87 labs as on date, each working in three shifts, has ramped up the Covid-19 testing facility up to an average of 30,000 per day, the highest in India.
Stating that Tamil Nadu as on date had done 9,19,204 tests, he said it was much more than Maharashtra, which has done only 7,25,680 tests so far though the prevalence of the disease was much wider in that State. Again, Tamil Nadu has discharged 34,112 Covid patients who have been cured till date, the higest in the country with a recovery rate of 55 per cent, he said.
Seeking the people's full cooperation in following the government's guidelines, Dr Vijayabaskar asked what "fault" DMK president M K Stalin found in the Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami's recent remark that "God alone knows" when the coronavirus would be brought under total control. It was only a God-beliver's way of expressing the great uncertainty in predicting the course of the virus spread even by medical experts in developed countries.
Even top experts were struggling to predict the epidemiological peak, intensity and geographical spread of the virus and the Chief Minister's common way of putting it by invoking the notion of God, need not have irked Stalin, Health minister said, rebutting him....