CHENNAI: Amid an increase in COVID cases, the State government on Friday re-introduced levying penalty on those failing to wear masks, and directed officials to ensure that the rule was strictly followed. The number of daily cases in Tamil Nadu jumped to 57, with Chennai alone recording 37 of them, and officials said it could go up to 100 in the coming days.
The decision to restart slapping a fine of Rs 500 was taken in the backdrop of laxity among people in adhering to COVID protocol while in public places, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said. “We have directed officials of Local Administration, Health and Police departments to collect fines from those who are not wearing masks while in public places,” he said.
However, there was no need to panic, he said, adding that the State was in touch with the Union Health Ministry on the management and handling of cases. Cluster management protocols were in place and infrastructure requirements were adequate to handle surge if any, Radhakrishnan said.
Only 18 of the 1.16 lakh COVID beds in Tamil Nadu are in use; two in ICU, seven on oxygen support and the remaining nine under regular treatment. Due to saturated testing for cluster cases in Chennai, daily numbers are likely to go up to 100, added the official.
Five new cases were reported in Chengalpattu, three in Kancheepuram, and two each in Madurai and Tirunelveli. The overall positivity rate stood at 0.2%; Thanjavur reported the highest of 0.9%, while it was 0.8% in Chennai and Chengalpattu.