Chennai, March 25 (IANS) With shops, offices and factories closed, Tamil Nadu turned silent on Wednesday, the first day of the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The day passed without any untoward incident.
The state woke up to the news of a Madurai based 54-year old male dying of coronavirus infection — the first death in the state due to the pandemic.
During the day, the state reported five new coronavirus positive cases, taking the total number to 23.
Out of these 23, one person was cured and discharged from hospital. One patient died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said the new cases were of four Indonesians and their travel guide from Chennai who tested positive at the Salem Medical College.
He said they have been quarantined since March 22.
According to Vijayabaskar, of the 890 samples tested in the state, 757 turned negative and 23 positive.
With borders closed, a complete halt of public transport and declaration of prohibitory orders, most of the roads in the state were empty subject to certain exceptions.
In some places, two and four wheelers were seen plying despite the warning by the police that action would be taken against those who come out on the roads.
In Tiruppur, the police punished those who were roaming around by asking them to be in a half-sit posture with hands stretched.
In Madurai, police fined motorists out on the roads.
In Coimbatore, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani inaugurated the disinfectant operations using drones.
As announced earlier by the government, grocery and drug stores were open in the state.
In the morning, the Gandhi Market in Trichi saw good crowd with people coming out to buy vegetables. However, the police asked them to go back. Police said people can buy vegetables from their neighbourhood shops and not from wholesale markets.
In Kancheepuram, people queued up at the fish market maintaining sufficient gap between two persons. Otherwise the temple town roads were largely empty and shops remained closed.
In the state capital Chennai, all business establishments were closed. Even banks and insurance companies were closed due to Ugadi festival, the Kanada and Telugu New Year.
Police have registered cases against three persons who had come from overseas and were found to violate the home quarantine orders.
At Anna Salai, a policeman with folded hands requested the vehicle riders to go back home.
The government has ordered plying of 200 buses for the purpose of providing essential services.
Greater Chennai Corporation allowed all e-commerce companies to deliver food, groceries and others by following contactless deliveries.
According to Chennai Corporation, the e-commerce company officials engaged in production to delivery operations have to wear personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, caps right from production to delivery.
The companies have to follow non-contact delivery to be followed at all delivery locations.
Meanwhile, owing to the 21-day curfew across the nation, the Madras High Court has decided to stop work at all the courts for three weeks.
But very urgent cases will be heard with the prior approval of the appropriate authority.