Tamil Nadu extends lockdown until August 23: restrictions on religious places and schools from September

Tamil Nadu has extended its Covid-19 lockdown until August 23 with new restrictions. While the government now plans to reopen schools to certain standards from September, religious places have also come under new restrictions.

What the new guidelines imply:

‣ All religious places will be closed three days a week – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

‣ The government plans to reopen schools for students of the 9, 10, 11, and 12th standard from September 1 with 50% of student attendance, all at once, in strict compliance with the Covid.

Colleges that teach medical and nursing courses will be allowed to reopen from August 16, and the government will issue a separate SOP for this.

‣ The government has warned against measures against stores that violate the Covid guidelines issued. The government had previously said strict orders had been given to district collectors and the police to punish violators – people and public establishments – of the pandemic rules. The coming weeks would be crucial for the DMK government to prove its courage in reducing the oncoming viral wave.

‘Wait and watch’ lock-in after a marginal increase in cases

The number of Covid-19 cases in the state rose slightly to 1,997 – from 1,949 on Wednesday – to bring the total number of infections here to 25,698,398.

Tamil Nadu had previously extended its lockdown until August 9, after seeing a slight increase in the number of cases after a drop in the past two months. Changing its approach, the state government had decided to halt the easing of lockdown standards and instead switched to standby and watch mode. Districts such as Chennai, Coimbatore, Chengalpattu, and Kallakuruchi remain under close surveillance after case charts showed a trough and reversal to the north.

Tamil Nadu had faced a dire shortage of beds and oxygen for weeks during the second wave; deaths had also risen, sparking murmurs of underreporting in districts like Coimbatore.

Previously, the government relaxed the standards for industrial training institutes (ITIs), industrial schools, and typing training institutes, allowing them to operate with 50 percent of students on a rotating basis.

The government had also said that schools, colleges, theaters, bars, and swimming pools would remain closed.

He had declared in his decree of July 30 that public and private transport by interstate bus would remain closed, with the exception of the return service with Pondicherry.

He also allowed a maximum of 50 people for weddings and 20 people for funerals or the last rites.

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