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TN enforces 'Sunday' lockdown, people confined to homes on 'Kaanum Pongal'
Kaanum Pongal, celebrated on the third day of Tamil month 'Thai' had traditionally been associated with revelry and excursions.
A full-fledged shutdown was enforced on Sunday in Tamil Nadu to tackle the surge in COVID cases, while police cracked down on violators of curbs, imposed fine and seized vehicles involved in flouting norms.
Though Sunday was 'Kaanum Pongal', traditionally celebrated by people by visiting places of their choice alongwith family and friends, they were confined to their homes this year in view of the one-day lockdown. Popular hangout locations like beaches, zoos, cinemas, Mamallapuram and hill stations including the Nilgiris were all deserted besides roads and highways as public remained at home. On Sunday, January 9, a complete one-day shutdown was enforced in Tamil Nadu which was the first in 2022 and also during the third wave of the COVID pandemic. Kaanum Pongal, celebrated on the third day of Tamil month 'Thai' had traditionally been associated with revelry and excursions. Police had set up barricades and check posts across the state including those at district borders, important intersections and public places to check against violations. In Chennai city and suburbs alone, over 10,000 police personnel manned about 400 check posts to enforce restrictions.
Only people involved in essential services, healthcare professionals and sanitary workers continued their routine work. From January 7, a state police release said a fine of Rs 3.45 crore has been imposed on violators across Tamil Nadu. This is for violation of restrictions including those related to night curfew and a full lockdown on last Sunday.
Over 1.64 lakh people have been fined for not wearing masks and nearly 2,000 people for not maintaining physical distance. People have also been fined for crowding (1,552), the TN police said.
Chennai police said that from 10 PM on Saturday to 5 AM on Sunday, senior officials led patrols in the city, filed 103 cases and seized 307 vehicles (280 two-wheelers, 16 autorickshaws and 11 light motor vehicles) for violating COVID-19 guidelines and night curfew. The cases have been filed against those have been roaming around the city at night without any valid reason and for defying COVID norms, a city police release said. COVID curbs, including night curfew, have been in force since January 6 and so far, a fine of Rs 10,93,800 has been collected and 5,469 cases have been filed for not wearing face masks, it said. A fine of Rs 13,500 has been levied for not maintaining social distance, the city police said.
On January 16, as many as 23,975 people tested positive for the virus and active cases stood at 1,42,476.
Recently, Health Minister Ma Subramanian had said that the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus were spreading like a 'tsunami' in Tamil Nadu and appealed to people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour.
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