Chennai: Tamil Nadu surpassed the grim number of 10,000 deaths owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the health department medical bulletin issued on Thursday. 68 persons lost their lives over the last 24 hours, thus taking the cumulative number to 10,052.
As per the state government data, the recovery rate is over 90%, with 5,86,454 persons having recovered, out of the total of 6,40,943 infected persons. As per the data furnished by the Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra is the only other state to have surpassed 10,000 deaths, prior to Tamil Nadu.
The Health Department said that 5,088 persons tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday and that 80.44 lakh RT-PCR tests, which are said to be the most reliable have been conducted so far.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 44,437. The capital city Chennai continued to lead the COVID-19 infection table with 1,295 persons testing positive for the virus on Thursday and the total Chennai tally stands at 178,108.
A Serosurvey conducted by the government authorities in between mid-July and early-August, which was released in September, has indicated that one-fifth of Chennai’s population has been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19. The study which was conducted by the National Institute of Epidemiology of the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Greater Chennai Corporation was based on the analysis of blood samples from 12,405 individuals from all zones of the city.
Population-based sero-surveys are performed to measure the spread of infection in the community. Such surveys are done by performing blood tests on individuals to check if they have developed antibodies to the infection. The preliminary finding of the report stated that “around 80 per cent of the population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in Chennai”.
During late September, in a video interaction with the Chief Ministers of states that are badly hit by the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen appreciating Tamil Nadu’s efforts in mass testing, tracing and isolation. Commending the people and the state government, he said Tamil Nadu presented itself as an example to other states for having controlled the spread of the virus.
In his interaction with the Prime Minister, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that he had personally toured 26 districts to review the performance in the fight against the pandemic. Emphasizing that the state was only employing the highly reliable RT-PCR tests, he said over 66 lakh samples have been tested across the state’s 66 Government and 110 private labs, with an average testing capacity of 85,000 RT-PCR tests per day.
Adding that the daily testing alone cost Rs.6.8crore, the Chief Minister had requested Government of India to fund at least 50% of the cost of the PCR tests from the PM – CARES fund, owing to the financial difficulties faced by the state government.
From September 1, in line with Unlock 4.0 aimed at reviving economic activity, Tamil Nadu has resumed to near-normalcy. Only academic institutions, Cinema halls, swimming pools, Amusement parks, big auditoriums, beaches, zoos, museums, tourist places and similar public places remain shut, until further notice. Religious, political, social, cultural, educational events and celebrations also remain restricted.
Following a review meeting in late September, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced new relaxations – films shooting permitted with 100 persons and no permission for onlookers, permission to land 100 aircraft per day at Chennai, restaurants, tea stall could function from 6 am to 9 pm for dine-in and until 10 pm for takeaway.