Chennai | Jagran News Desk: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, who won the recently concluded assembly elections, on Friday extended the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state till June 21 despite a dip in COVID-19 cases, reported news agency ANI.

However, the MK Stalin-led DMK-Congress government has provided relaxations in the lockdown, allowing government-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) shops to operate from 10 am to 5 pm in a day in 27 districts of the state.

It also said that salons, beauty parlours and spas can function in 27 districts of the state, including Chennai, from June 14 without air conditioners and only 50 per cent of customers. The state government has also allowed government parks to remain open from 6 am to 9 pm in a day while taxis and auto-rickshaws can also function now.

On June 5, Stalin had extended the lockdown, which was imposed in May after an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, in Tamil Nadu till June 14. He had said that the high positivity rate in 11 districts including Coimbatore and the Nilgiris was the main reason behind the extension of lockdown in the state.

However, several relaxations were announced by Stalin as he allowed government offices to operate with 30 per cent capacity. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had also industrial outputs to operate while the timings of the stores and shops dealing in essential services were extended in the state.

Later that day, Stalin also cancelled the class 12 board exams in Tamil Nadu. He also formed a committee, headed by the School Education Department Principal Secretary, to decide on awarding marks to the students.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu, which has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, reported 15,759 new cases and 378 deaths on Friday, said the state health department, adding that 29,243 patients recovered from the infection during the same period.

It said that Tamil Nadu's total caseload stands at 23.21 lakh, out of which 1.74 lakh are active cases. On the other hand, 21.20 lakh patients have recovered from the deadly infection while more than 28,900 people have succumbed to the disease, the state health department added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma