Tamil Nadu allows public meetings with 50% capacity in open spaces
Tamil Nadu has announced further relaxations to Covid-19-related restrictions such as allowing outdoor meetings for political, religious, sports and cultural gatherings at 50% capacity from December 19.
Chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami, in a statement on Wednesday, said that organisers will have to take prior permission from district authorities to conduct the events.
Tamil Nadu goes to assembly polls in early 2021 and political parties such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) have already begun campaigning.
In some cases, permissions have been denied, and a few leaders have briefly courted arrests for violating pandemic norms.
Wednesday’s announcement comes a day after the higher education department in Tamil Nadu instructed its colleges and universities to conduct testing on their campuses and hostels after IIT-Madras turned into a Covid-19 cluster. Tamil Nadu had earlier allowed reopening of classes for final-year undergraduate students from December 7.
IIT-Madras has a total of 191 positive cases as of Wednesday. Greater Chennai Corporation conducted mass testing at the neighbouring Anna University campus on Tuesday. Six out of 550 tested turned positive.
Meanwhile school education minister K A Sengottiyan had earlier said that schools are unlikely to reopen anytime soon.
As of December 15, the coronavirus has infected 8,01,161 people in the state and claimed the lives of 11,919. Altogether, 7,79,291 people have been discharged.