Chennai, Apr 5:
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced further curbs on public movement as part of its fight against COVID-19, revising the business hours of shops selling essential commodities.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami appealed against giving communal colour to the spread of the contagion and requested people to avoid religious congregations and strictly maintain social distancing.
The government”s curbs relating to shops remaining open came a day after Palaniswami warned of tightening the ongoing lockdown as many were not following the prohibitory orders clamped to implement it.
Chief Minister said in a statement, “To further curtail public movement, the time allowed for them (people) to buy essential items is being revised from 6 am to 1 pm and this would come into effect from April 5 (Sunday),
Presently, shops selling essential items are allowed to transact business from 6 am to 2.30 PM.
The chief minister urged all sections of people to strictly abide by the new regulation and warned of “stringent legal action” against those violating the government diktat.
On Friday, the chief minister had lamented that people had a “casual” attitude over following the lockdown even as the government had imposed Section 144 of Cr.Pc, which bars the assembly of over five persons, to implement it.
“Some don”t pay heed to the repeated requests.
Henceforth law has to do its duty. The government is giving best cooperation to public. If people fail to utilise it properly, then the government has no other way other than to tighten the restrictions,” the CM had said.
He has all along been insisting on social distancing to effectively stem the spread of coronavirus.
The chief minister said top state government officials had a meeting with representatives of various faiths on Friday where the stress was laid on social distancing and isolation.
Based on the interaction, the government has taken various decisions including prevention of public gathering of people during festivals and that religious meetings should be avoided, he said.
Further, coronavirus would infect humans irrespective of caste and religion and could affect anyone, he said.
“People should avoid giving communal colour to this (virus) and should not show hatred to those affected by it,” he said.
Palaniswami”s appeal came at a time when Nizamuddin West in Delhi has emerged as an epicentre for the spread of coronavirus in different parts of the country after thousands of people took part in an Islamic congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat from March 1-15 and returned to their states.
The virus-affected persons should be shown love and compassion, the chief minister added.
Further, upon the community leaders” requests, schools colleges and other buildings under their control can be equipped with necessary infrastructure to be used as isolation facilities, Palaniswami said.