The Tamil Nadu police has booked over 1,200 people for violations relating to the Section 144 Cr.Pc order in the state, in force to implement an eight-day lockdown ordered by the state government as part of its fight against the spread of coronavirus. Police personnel continued to patrol roads and kept an eye on violators to persuade them to confine themselves to their homes, and continued to adopt novel ways to create public awareness as well as punish violators.
According to police, 1,252 people have been booked for violating Section 144 CrPc order, while cases have been filed against 16 people for spreading rumours in the last two days. The 144 CrPc order prohibits assembly of more than five persons. Further, six others who violated quarantine protocols have also been booked, police said on Thursday, two days after the lockdown came into effect.
The Chennai Police said it has set up 156 checkposts in the city to effectively implement the order, with its personnel undertaking regular patrolling. Besides, drunken driving and helmet violation was also being strictly dealt with. In Sivaganga, police made violators carry awareness banners for a while, even as they were made to stand apart form one another, in an obvious effort to implement social distancing to prevent any spread of the contagion.
At Gudiyatham in Vellore district, police administered a pledge to those who were wandering about in public defying prohibitory orders, to abide by the law. Where people were allowed to buy essentials like groceries, vegetables and medicines, social distancing was strictly implemented, with customers allowed only in batches to purchase items and medicines of their choice. Most roads were virtually deserted.
In places like Chennai and Nagapattinam, government buses were operated only to ferry health professionals and essential government department employees to discharge their duties. Police have already warned of action against those violating the prohibitory orders, in force from 6 pm on March 24, following an announcement by Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
Meanwhile, Palaniswami chaired a meeting of various departments and district collectors through video conferencing form here to discuss the measures being taken to tackle the spread of COVID19. The chief minister, his deputy O Panneerselvam and officials including Chief Secretary K Shanmugam and state police chief JK Tripathy were seen wearing masks, in the picture released by the state government.
The state has reported a total of 28 positive cases of coronavirus, including a 45 year-old man who has been discharged after treatment. Meanwhile, the Greater Chennai Coproration said there was a ban on home delivery of cooked food by well-known players like Zomato and Swiggy. "Dry rations, vegetables and groceries from local super market and e-commerce are allowed to home deliver in Chennai City. Only the cooked food supply from Zomato/Swiggy etc. are NOT ALLOWED," the civic body said on its official Twitter handle.