People wait to board buses and return to their hometowns at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on the outskirts of Bangalore on Monday.
People wait to board buses and return to their hometowns at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on the outskirts of Bangalore on Monday.
-- AFP

Chennai

The Tamil Nadu Govt on Monday decided to extend its order suspending bus services in the state till July 31 to contain the virus’s spread.

Last month, the governemnt had divided the state into eight zones comprising a few districts each and allowed public transport services to resume within each zone su­b­ject to certain restrictions on passenger capacity. The buses, were nonetheless, not operated in Chennai and its surrounding districts. However, towards the last week of June, the inter-district movement of buses within zones was stopped. This month, the govt chose to suspend bus services altogether till July 15 and on Monday extended the same to the month-end.

"We are following the recommendation of the medical experts panel. The experts had advised us against resuming bus transport for the public as they found it led to increase in the spread of Covid infection. Therefore, we have now decided to suspend both public and private bus transport across the state till the month-end," a Transport Dept official explained.

The state, which saw a dip in Covid cases earlier last week, again registered a jump over the weekend. On Monday too it recorded 4,328 new patients and 66 deaths. Presently, TN has 48,196 active cases, while the overall corona tally stood at 1,42,798.

Significantly, Chennai, which was a coronavirus hotspot, has been witnessing a steady decline in recent days. Contrary to the 2,000-plus new cases on a daily basis earlier, for the fifth consecutive day the number stood way below the 2,000-mark. On Monday, the new cases in Chennai was 1,140.

"From July 1 itself we have been witnessing a reasoanble decline in cases in Chennai. It has come down by over 50 per cent. However, we need to wait for a few days before cheering lest there is a relapse in the spread," a Health Dept official said.

According to the official, a focussed intervention in the capital city when it was under "complete lockdown" led to the decline in cases. The Greater Chennai Corporation conducted numerous fever camps and tested all those reporting with fever or influenza-like illnesses and qua­r­antined them. It helped in reducing the new cases.

However, now the cases are spreading the rural areas including Madurai and officials are paying attention to adopting the "fever camp" strategy in the rural districts as well.

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