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CM Palaniswami blames vendors for Koyambedu cluster formation

"The Chief Secretary held a talk with them on April 6, asking them to stand by the government's decision to shift to the temporary market and avoid infection spread. However, trade representatives refused to accept it citing fears of business loss,” Palaniswami said.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 13, 2020, 08.59 PM IST
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"About 26 lakh people live in slum areas. Lot of people live in congested areas with narrow lanes. It creates a situation where the virus spreads easily,” he said.
Coronavirus

COVID-19 CASES

Confirmed
625,544
Deaths
18,213
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami broke his silence about the Koyambedu cluster on Wednesday after chairing a review meeting with district collectors. The Chief Minister blamed the vendors for not cooperating with the government in time.

The Koyambedu market, which is a large wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Chennai became a hotspot for the spread of the virus. It has contributed to a vast majority of the cases in the State lately.

The Chief Minister said the vendors did not want to shift the market to the one set up by the government outside the city and said they did not follow social distancing or wear masks which led to the spread of the infection.

"The Chief Secretary held a talk with them on April 6, asking them to stand by the government's decision to shift to the temporary market and avoid infection spread. However, trade representatives refused to accept it citing fears of business loss,” Palaniswami said.

Tamil Nadu reported 509 new cases of the novel Coronavirus on Wednesday, a government media bulletin confirmed. Of these cases, 380 tested positivee from Chennai alone. This takes the total tally in the State to 9,227 cases with 2,176 recoveries and 64 deaths.

Chennai has a total of 5262 cases and is the worst affected district in the State. However, the bulletin confirmed that there are no active cases in Erode, Coimbatore, Sivagangai and Tiruppur.

Further, five more passengers who have returned from other countries tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. Of the 927 passengers who have been tested, nine have tested positive so far.

As for the rapid rise in the cases in Chennai, the Chief Minister attributed it to the population density in the city and the aggressive testing strategy that the State has adopted.

Tamil Nadu has tested 2,79,467 samples and 2,68,250 persons in all.

"About 26 lakh people live in slum areas. Lot of people live in congested areas with narrow lanes. It creates a situation where the virus spreads easily,” he said.

Palaniswami indicated that the lockdown restrictions could only be relaxed if people cooperated and emphasised that controlling the spread of the pandemic was in the hands of the people.

The Chief Minister had earlier urged Prime Minister Modi not to restore air and train services in the State till the end of this month owing to the State reporting a high number of cases. However, he said that following social distancing norms, wearing face masks and maintaining personal hygience could help beat the pandemic.
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