With 621 positive cases so far, Tamil Nadu today has the third-highest number of coronavirus infected patients among the states.
Edappadi K. Palaniswami
With assembly elections less than a year away, Tamil Nadu chief minister E.K. Palaniswami is using all the resources at his disposal to minimise COVID-19 casualties in the state. The focus, of course, is to aggressively contain the infection. With 621 positive cases so far, Tamil Nadu today has the third-highest number of coronavirus infected patients among the states. Of the 63 districts which account for over 60 per cent of the detected cases in India, 10 are in Tamil Nadu. That makes CM Palaniswami’s job even more challenging.
“The state is reeling under an emergency triggered by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” he declared on April 7. At the beginning of the lockdown, the chief minister had sought from the Centre a special Rs 3,000 crore assistance to strengthen the health infrastructure. Days later, he was demanding Rs 9,000 crore. He is also actively seeking donations from the people to help the government fight this unprecedented crisis.
A small consolation, however, is the fact that both the health minister, C. Vijayabaskar, and the health secretary, Beela Rajesh, are medical graduates. This has helped the administration move faster and more effectively as positive cases come up. Palaniswami is also active on Twitter and has been responsive to those in need during the lockdown. After a request by Assam Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, he came to the rescue of migrants from Assam and Bihar by directing the Chennai Corporation to provide immediate support.
Palaniswami has also been out on the streets, taking part in relief measures. He personally served food to the migrant labour housed at the Guru Nanak College in Chennai on April 3. The chief minister was also seen eating with the people at an Amma Canteen when he went for an inspection. As part of the lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus, restaurants in the state are permitted to offer only takeaways. Dine-in amenities are open only at the government-run Amma Canteens where food is offered at subsidised rates.