Another 73 people, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi, have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, taking the overall confirmed cases to 485, next only to Maharashtra with 635 infected persons.

In a first-of-its-kind massive drive to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the Tamil Nadu government will deploy 16,000 trained workers for a door-to-door screening across Chennai from today.

The trained workers who will be armed with personal protective equipment would submit daily reports keeping a 24×7 monitoring of Chennai residents.

With the help of these workers – who are largely associated with self help groups – the government plans to monitor residents in 10 lakh buildings round the clock over the next 90 days. Chennai has 88 positive cases.

However some see this as a bad idea. John Dulip, a Hong Kong based Executive who’s elderly parents are in Chennai says, “What we are creating is a potential wave of carriers going from home to home and spreading the virus. I’m not at all comfortable with my elderly parents receiving unknown people into their home who have been in touch with other potentially infected people”.

Tamil Nadu recorded two more COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, both having a connection to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, as it added a significant number of positive cases with history of travel to the national capital for the religious meet. Earlier a man who had contracted the virus from two Thai attendees at the Delhi event had died in Madurai.

Another 73 people, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi, have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, taking the overall confirmed cases to 485, next only to Maharashtra with 635 infected persons.

“437 of them are Delhi attendees. Out of the 1,500 attendees, all 1,200 attendees have been tested and put on hospital isolation across the state,” said Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh. Around 5,000 health officials have intensified their containment drive in districts, with a door-to-door screening of all houses in a 5-km radius around the house of every positive patient. Those with symptoms are put on home quarantine or hospital isolation and some tested too.

The larger challenge, however, is to trace the contacts of all 1,200 attendees who are likely to have got infected.

The remaining around 300 attendees are believed to be still in Delhi. It’s not clear yet whether they have reported to authorities or have been put under isolation yet.

So far the state with a seven crore population has tested only 4,248 samples, largely international passengers and contacts of positive cases. 90,541 are on home isolation and 1,681 on hospital isolation.

Amid demands for more testing following fears of community spread which the government denies, Chief Minister K Palaniswami has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide sufficient number of test kits, ventilators, masks and a 9,000 crore assistancetro fight the pandemic.

Mr Palaniswami has also appealed to religious leaders to avoid giving a communal colour to Coronavirus and looking at positive patients with hatred. He also requested them to offer schools, colleges and other buildings under them to be used for isolation.

Meanwhile, the government imposed fresh curbs and announced curtailing the business hours of shops selling essential commodities by 90 minutes.

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