Tamil Nadu government today said "intense lockdown" imposed on state's capital Chennai amid the rising cases of novel coronavirus, will be eased.
Speaking at the press conference, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that relaxations in Chennai will come into effect from Monday, 6 July until further orders.
Vegetable and grocery shops, which were closed during the complete lockdown period, will be allowed to open from 6 am to 6 pm while textile and hardware shops can open from 10 am to 6 pm, the CM said.
Moreover, restaurants can also open from 6 am to 9 pm from Monday onwards, he added. Meanwhile, dine-in is again not allowed in restaurants. Also, the online food delivery service in Chennai will only be allowed till 9:00 pm.
Tea stalls and shops can also open from 6 am to 6 pm. Showrooms outside malls will also be permitted to open from 10 am to 6 pm, the government said.
The intense lockdown was imposed in the city on 19 June in four districts including Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu. Only the essential services were allowed in these areas.
Shops selling essentials including vegetables functioned from 6 am to 2 pm and private vehicles and autos, taxis were off the roads.
Palaniswami appealed to the people to extend their cooperation for the government's efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the lockdown, only essential services were allowed. For those who do not fall under exempted categories/ essential services, venturing out of homes during lockdown, beyond the allowed time-frame (from 6 am to 2 pm to buy essentials only in their respective areas) is a violation of Section 144 of CrPC.
The state government had also imposed absolute lockdown on the two Sundays (June 21 and 28) that fell during the stipulated period, barring milk supply, pharmacies, hospitals and ambulance services, no other services or shops will be permitted to function.
Chennai on Saturday reported it now has 66,538 positive cases while 41,309 patients have recovered since the outbreak. Death toll in the city stands at 1,033, according to the state bulletin.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu reported over 4,000 new coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day. The southern state is now the second-most affected state in the country after Maharashtra, which has more than 1.9 lakh cases.
With 4,280 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Tamil Nadu's total number of confirmed coronavirus patients have now surged to 1,07,001, according to the state health department.
Along with that, the death toll in the state also increased to 1,450 after 65 deaths were reported in since Friday, it said.