Circumstances demand extension of lockdown, says TN CM Stalin

When the government brought in relaxations, some took advantage; the deaths of people have raised question marks over the future of their families, the CM said at an all-party panel on Saturday

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday said the present circumstances have made it inevitable for the Tamil Nadu government to extend the COVID-19 lockdown — due to end on the morning of May 24 — without any relaxations.

Addressing a consultative panel of all-party leaders at the Secretariat, he said the medical experts team, with whom he had a meeting earlier, had recommended a lockdown without any relaxations. “During my tour in the districts I received similar views,” he said. Mr. Stalin said when the government brought in some relaxations, some people had taken advantage of them and treated the lockdown as a holiday and were roaming around the roads and streets.

“The lockdown was announced for the benefit of people and to save their lives. A lot of people have died and their deaths have raised question marks over the future of their families. There is a fear in the speech of people, but their actions have not reflected it,” he said.

Mr Stalin said that though the police advised people not to violate the relaxations, their advice was not heeded to. “We have roped in film personalities to create awareness about the disease,” he said.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that medical professionals were under heavy pressure and mental strain and the government could not afford to bring them under more pressure.

“Though students would enjoy their holidays, now holidays have become a pain. The pandemic has caused depression among students. We have to secure their education and future,” he further said.

Mr Stalin said though the State government has been getting oxygen from Odisha on a regular basis, heavy rain in the State had disturbed the supply. “We have asked Maharashtra to send oxygen and I have written a letter to the Chief Minister of the State. We also sought over 900 metric tonne oxygen from the Centre and my letter was handed over to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal by DMK Parliamentary Party leader T.R. Baalu,” he said.

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