Chennai: Tamil Nadu on Monday saw a record surge of Covid cases with 527 people testing positive. The state now has 2,107 active patients, while its total tally of confirmed cases is 3,550. The state capital, Chennai saw its patient go up by 267, taking its tally to 1,438. The capital city has so far seen the highest 18 deaths.

With over 600 patients in the past few days contracting the infection from the Koyambedu Wholesale Vegetable and Fruits Market, one of Asia’s largest perishable co­m­m­odity markets, the auth­o­r­ities shut down the market. Instead a temporary wholesale vegetable and fruits mar­ket would come up at Thiru­mazhisai, northwest of Che­n­nai, on May 7, officials said.

“The Koyambedu market has now emerged as the second largest cluster of Covid in Tamil Nadu after the Tablighi Jamaat attendees. The Cuddalore district, about 190 kms north of Chennai, saw 122 cases on Monday and the source of infection for a majority was traced to the market. Same was the case with Villupuram district, which saw 49 new patients. This cluster is only growing,” a worried health official said.

Officials of Greater Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, which maintains the market, came in for strong criticism for not ensuring adequate physical distancing leading to the spread. “The Covid map of Tamil Nadu was set to shrink about a fortnight ago and then you have this surge, largely attributable to the market,” the official added.

Meanwhile, the state government decided to open liquor shops in non-containment zones from May 7 claiming that a lot of people were going to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to consume alcohol.

—Dravida Thambi

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