Marina, other beaches to be open to the public from December 14, depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation
While extending the general COVID-19 lockdown till the end of the year, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday announced the reopening of medical colleges and the resumption of physical classes for final-year undergraduate students of arts and science, engineering, agriculture, fisheries and veterinary programmes in all colleges and universities from December 7.
In a statement announcing fresh relaxations from the lockdown, Mr. Palaniswami said classes for undergraduate and post-graduate students of medical and medical-related programmes would commence on December 7 by complying with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). However, classes for the fresh 2020-21 batch in these programmes would commence only from February 1, 2021.
Beaches to open
From December 14, the general public would be allowed to visit beaches, including Marina, depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation, he said. Mandatory e-registration for movement into Tamil Nadu (except from Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka) will continue.
Social, political, recreational and religious meetings would be allowed in auditoriums with 50% seating capacity (or a maximum of 200 persons) from December 1 till December 31. “Prior permission from the District Collector concerned or the Chennai Police Commissioner, as the case may be, is mandatory,” he said. Depending on the spread of the pandemic, a decision would be taken on whether to allow such meetings in open spaces, he said.
The State government also allowed the reopening of exhibition halls but only for business purposes. Swimming pools are allowed to reopen but only for sports training purposes. Tourist spots will also be allowed to function. The fresh relaxations would not be allowed in COVID-19 containment zones across the State. Domestic and international air traffic routes permitted by the Union Home Ministry alone would be allowed.
SOPs will be issued for all the above activities.
Appeal to public to wear masks
Mr. Palaniswami also reiterated his appeal to the general public to wear face masks while stepping out, to wash their hands both at home and at their workplaces, to ensure physical distancing norms in public places and to avoid going out unnecessarily. “If complete cooperation is extended to the government, the infection could be brought under complete control,” he underlined.
‘Spread is below 1,600 persons a day’
Mr. Palaniswami said due to the steps taken by his government, the spread of the pandemic in the State was only up to about 1,600 persons a day over the past 10 days. The number of persons under medical treatment for COVID-19 has come down from about 50,000 to 11,000 now.