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Madras HC suggests lockdown in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry on counting day

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Chennai, Apr 27: The Madras High Court has suggested a May 1-2 lockdown in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases during the counting of votes.

Madras HC suggests lockdown in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry on counting day

The court said that only vehicles required for counting and emergency services could be allowed. "Public health is more important than counting votes. The process may be delayed or even deferred, but public health must not be compromised," a Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar said.

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"If an appropriate announcement in such regard is made well in advance, say by April 28, ordinary citizens may have sufficient notice and may complete the weekend purchases by Friday and abide by the restricted movement norms as was evident in course of the lockdown observed on Sunday, April 25, 2021. As of now, the situation does not appear to be completely out of control, though there are some horror stories in media and some other anecdotes on the social media," the Bench also said.

The court was hearing a suo motu petition by the High Court on the status of the availability of oxygens, ventilators, hospital beds and Remdesivir for treating COVID-19.

The state told the court that it had enough supply and the Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister a day ago against oxygen diversion so that oxygen is available for Tamil Nadu in a worst case scenario. Further the court also suggested that the vaccination manufacturing centres at Chengalpattu, Coonoor and Ooty could be re-started.

The government said that the Centre has allowed 59,000 vials of Remdesivir till April 30 against pending orders of the state totalling 250,000. It was also submitted that only 25 per cent of the COVID-19 infected may need hospital admission and 15 per cent of them many need oxygen beds.

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