Insight Online News
Chennai, Aug 31 : The Tamil Nadu government has extended the COVID lockdown in the State by another two weeks till September 15, while allowing re-opening of schools and colleges and total shutdown of all beaches on Sundays to control the virus spread.
In a statement here, Chief Minister M K Stalin announced extension of the lockdown from tomorrow morning till September 15 after reviewing the situation with the district collectors and other officials.
He said based on the views expressed by medical panel experts and educationists, all schools for Classes 9 to 12, colleges and polytechnics will reopen in the State as planned from tomorrow. Hostels attached to the schools and colleges and working men/women hostels will also be allowed to function by following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the government.
The government has also mandated that taking into account the spike in cases of COVID cases in Kerala, mainly due to the Onam festival fete, college students coming from the neighbouring State must be vaccinated and produce a negative RT-PCR test certificate, before allowing entry into Tamil Nadu. Mr Stalin appealed to the parents and teachers at the schools and colleges to ensure that students wear masks, maintain physical distancing, and follow the Covid-19 guidelines as the educational institutions have been allowed to reopen in the interest of the students’ education and mental well-being.
Taking a serious view of the massive crowds seen at the beaches last weekend, Mr Stalin announced that beaches–one of the most preferred destinations for the people during weekends–will be closed to the public on all Sundays starting from September five. When the beaches were re-opened after a long gap on August 23, lakhs of people thronged the Marina Beach Front in the city and other beaches during weekends and the crowd was even bigger Sundays, throwing all covid protocols, like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to the wind.
Amid talk of possible emergence of a third wave, and since the beaches might emerge as a hotspot for spike in cases, the government had decided to shut down all the beaches on all Sundays. Mr Stalin said the ban on public entry to all temples and places of religious worship will continue from Fridays to Sundays as announced earlier, including the ban on public celebration of religious festivals.