Tamil Nadu recorded over 700 COVID-19 cases for the second day on Thursday, taking the overall tally of confirmed cases close to 14,000, the second highest in the country after Maharashtra. A day earlier the state had reported 743 new cases.
On Thursday, of the 776 cases Tamil Nadu reported, Chennai counted for 567, taking the capital’s total confirmed cases to 8,795.
Seven deaths reported on Thursday took the state’s death toll to 94, of which Chennai accounted for 64.
Chennai’s Royapuram has the highest number of patients currently under treatment at 1167, followed by Kodambakkam at 690 and Tondiarpet at 596.
A large portion of the cases in Chennai are among the age group of 20-49.
The state health department’s health bulletin said those infected included people who had returned from other countries including the US and states like Maharashtra and Kerala.
According to Thursday;s bulletin, 400 people were discharged in the state, taking the overall recoveries to 6,282.
Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said the government was facing “new challenges” by way of many among those returning to Tamil Nadu from other countries and states testing positive for the deadly virus, some after the mandatory exit test conducted after seven days.
However, the government was taking all measures in this area also and there was no second opinion that such stranded people should return home, he said.
A total of 61 air passengers have tested positive so far. Baskar said 25 passengers who had returned from other countries initially tested negative but turned positive during the exit screening after seven days.
“They were asymptomatic,” he said.
Many coming from other states, especially Maharashtra, were reporting positive for the COVID-19 and such people were being tested and isolated at the respective check-posts, even as some of those who had arrived by trains were also found infected with coronavirus, the minister said.
The Minister indicated these factors contributed to the spike in numbers but sought to assure that the government was taking all necessary steps to handle these “new challenges.”
Such people returning to the state “are our brothers and sisters, and sons of soil,” he said, adding, there was no second thought that they should return home.
The health minister also said: “However, the lowest mortality rate of 0.7 per cent is being consistently maintained and this is the best in the country and the credit for this goes to the medical professionals involved in the fight against Covid-19,” Baskar added.
Till now 3,72,532 samples have been taken and sent for testing and COVID-19 testing in Tamil Nadu, according to the state government.
(With PTI inputs)