Coronavirus is a disease of the rich: Tamil Nadu CM

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu reported the lowest number of cases in over a fortnight on Thursday with one death and 25 fresh cases of Covid-19, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said while calling the pandemic a “big challenge.”

“It is a disease of the rich. People who had travelled abroad or to other states have imported it (to Tamil Nadu). It did not originate here,” he said while addressing the media after a meeting with district collectors across the state.

This takes the death toll in the State to 15 and the total number of positive cases in the State to 1,267, the Chief Minister confirmed. A total of 180 people have been discharged so far, as against 118 on Wednesday. He reiterated that the State had managed to keep the disease in check by ensuring it does not progress to the third stage.

He further went on to add that a committee had been formed under Finance Secretary S Krishnan to finalise an exit strategy post the lockdown that is scheduled to end on May 3. The Chief Minister said the exit strategy would be a ‘phased’ one and mentioned that the committee would also draw up a list of industries that would be permitted to function after April 20.

Palaniswami said about 13,000 migrant labourers were lodged in 311 facilites and that their needs were being taken care of while talking about the supply of rations and pulses to the needy.

‘DMK chooses politics over disease’

Palaniswami said 11 doctors, including six government ones, have tested positive in the State but was quick to add that this number is less than other states like Delhi and Mumbai, he said. He emphasised that Tamil Nadu had adequate ventilators, PPE and masks in addition to frontline health workers. Addressing the delay in arrival of rapid test kits from China, he said the kits had been “diverted to another nation.”

He added that the government would bear all the expenses incurred if an accredited journalist contracted the disease and said the State would prove Rs five lakh in the event of their death.

In his address, Palaniswami accused DMK President MK Stalin of finding fault during any disaster, including the earlier cyclones in the state like Gaja and Ockhi. “This is a planned criticism as we are effectively containing the spread… DMK is a party which only criticises, ” he said while adding that it was unfortunate that the party chose politics over a disease.

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