Tamil Nadu: Current COVID wave is like a 'tsunami,' says official; state reports 17,897 new cases, 107 deaths
Chennai, Apr 29: The initial coronavirus wave wintessed last year was ''small,'' but the current one was like a ''tsunami'' and a pandemic of such huge proportions can be tackled only with full public cooperation, a top government official said here on Thursday.
The government and the Greater Chennai Corporation have been taking all necessary steps to manage the situation like ensuring availability of beds, medical oxygen and drugs in hospitals, Special Coordinator (COVID-19 management in the metropolis), Principal Secretary to Government, M A Siddique said.
"The previous wave witnessed last year was small, but the one that is coming towards us is like a Tsunami," he said and pointed to surge in cases in several places including Delhi and Bengaluru. Through all efforts were being taken by authorities, full public cooperation is needed to tackle the pandemic of such huge proportions, he told reporters. All steps were being taken to increase oxygen lines in the state capital.
In government sector, as of now, there are 2,545 oxygen beds here and 3,129 non-oxygen beds and about 2,500 in private sector, he said. About 500 more oxygen beds have come up today in government hospitals here (including at Egmore) and within a span of 10 days, a total of 2,400 oxygen beds would be added here which includes converting non-oxygen into oxygen beds and setting up fresh ones, he said. A Covid Care Centre facility, being set up at the Chennai Trade Centre at Nandambakkam here, would also have 250 ''oxygen points'' initially in 10 days and 250 more shall come up later.
Though there was no need for panic, adequate precautions must be taken by people and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing mask, avoiding crowded places and maintaining social distanceing must be followed without fail, he said.
If a person tests positive for the virus, there is no need for concern and he or she may call 104 or the corporation helpline (044 46122300 /25384520) and ''focus voluteers'' would assist them to reach screening centres. Based on the outcome of tests at the centres, they may be referred to Covid Care Centres or hospitals, he said. The number of RT-PCR tests here have been increased to about 25,000 now from 11,000 last month.
There were 112,556 active cases in the state on Thursday evening, after 15,542 people were discharged. Death toll touched 13,933 and cumulative case tally rose to 11,48,064.
While hotspot Chennai reported 5,445 cases and 40 deaths, its neighbouring district Chengalpet added 1,164 cases and seven deaths. With 792 cases in Tiruvallur and 352 cases in Kancheepuram, the Chennai region added 7,753 new cases and 65 deaths.