A medic checks the temperature of a child before his COVID-19 testing, in Chennai.
A medic checks the temperature of a child before his COVID-19 testing, in Chennai.
—ANI

Chennai

In a surprise decision, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday evening decided to extend COVID-19 lockdown till July 31 across the State, though a medical expert panel had earlier in the day said that it had not recommended any extension. On all four Sundays of July, the State will see a "complete lockdown", which means the public would have access to only milk supply and medical services but all shops including vegetable and provisional stores would be closed.

In Chennai, and its neighbouring districts of Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur and in Madurai city and its surroundings, the ongoing "complete lockdown" will continue till July 5, the government announced. Thereafter, till July end these cities will see an easing of restrictions to the pre June-19 level when most shops were open but public transport remained suspended.

The government also decided to suspend intra-district public bus transport across the State till July 15.

Earlier, the medical experts panel had said that it had not recommended an extension in lockdown but only given the Government district-specific indexes to act upon. "Tackling COVID-19 with lockdown is like using a big axe to kill a mosquito," Dr Ramasubramanian, a panel member, said instead advocating safety precautions like wearing masks, washing hands with soap and maintaining physical distance.

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