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TN goes under lockdown; home quarantine stickers pasted on

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Tamil Nadu came under a lockdown on Tuesday evening with public spaces going empty even as local authorities began pasting 'home quarantined' stickers on the doors of houses of foreign returnees in the State.

Hours before the lockdown became effective at 6 pm, people rushed to market places to buy essential commodities though the government had made it clear that retail outlets dealing with essentials like groceries, hospitals and petrol stations will function.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 were invoked by the government to impose curbs.

A day after announcing that as many as 3,000 homes are under quarantine watch for cornavirus in greater Chennai Corporation limits and such houses will be stamped with stickers to ensure social distancing, the city civic body began the exercise today.

Stickers announcing that "COVID-19/Do not Visit/Home under quarantine," with details like name and number of people under watch were pasted on the doors of houses of returnees from foreign countries.

A slogan "Home quarantined. Proud to protect my community," was also found on the stamp.

Also, home quarantine stamps were stuck on the arms of those under watch by authorities.

Similar stamping exercise was kickstarted by local bodies in districts including Thanjavur today.

On the stamping exercise, the authorities said this was a "time of emergency and it has to be taken in the right spirit," in an apparent appeal to people to cooperate.

While major market places wore a deserted look, roads and highways across Tamil Nadu became almost empty with only vehicles that started plying ahead of the 6 PM deadline allowed to passby by police after verification.

Natives of other towns and districts who are working in Chennai, began leaving the city in hordes since yesterday when the government announced lockdown and since only buses were available the vehicles got overcrowded.

People continued to throng the bus terminals to reach their destinations on time today as well.

Bus services were trimmed down by noon and completely halted well ahead of the shutdown deadline.

As the lockdown time neared, crowds began swelling unmanageably at several State-run (TASMAC-Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) liqour outlets, and police personnel on patrol vehicles had to wield batons to shoo away people.

As part of lockdown measures, district borders were sealed by police and they placed barricades to prevent movement of vehicles.

Only trucks carrying essential commodities and healthcare personnel were allowed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 21:32 IST