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Tamil Nadu: Chennai’s Koyambedu market cluster emerges as the new hotspot with over 3000 cases traced, CM blames vendors

Koyambedu market opened in 1996 in Chennai. It is one of Asia's biggest markets and attracts people from across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states, who come here to sell their products or seeking work.

The Koyambedu market in Chennai has emerged as the new coronavirus hotspot in Tamil Nadu. So far nearly 3,000 cases have been reported from the market. Over 35% of the total cases reported in Tamil Nadu till now has been traced to the Koyambedu market.

According to a senior health official, the Koyambedu market cluster has emerged as a new cluster as it has impacted not only Chennai but several other districts such as Ariyalur and Perambalur. Two neighbouring districts of Chennai city region, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur, have also seen a jump in the coronavirus cases.

As per a report in Indian Express, the state’s total tally was 9,227, out of which 4,089 were linked to arrivals from other countries and states. Nearly 1,365 positive cases were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March while other cases have been traced to the Koyambedu market cluster. Out of the 509 new cases reported across the state in the last 24 hours, 380 were from Chennai.

Reportedly, most of the infected have been traced to have links to the Koyambedu market. Vendors, drivers, workers and those who visited the market on a daily basis, and their secondary contacts have been tested positive.

Koyambedu market opened in 1996 in Chennai. It is one of Asia’s biggest markets and attracts people from across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states, who come here to sell their products or seeking work. The administration had shut the market and shifted it to the outskirts of Chennai after several people working at the market were tested positive for coronavirus.

Some districts in Andhra Pradesh have also reported cases linked to Koyambedu cluster as many migrants, traders had visited the market in the last few days and had returned their home state in the last week of April. At least four districts in Andhra Pradesh has been impacted from the cluster and about 20 persons from the state who visited the market contracted coronavirus.

Chief Minister blames traders for the outbreak

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday blamed wholesale vegetable and fruit traders at Koyambedu market cluster for the violating the lockdown rules and aggravating the pandemic. He stated that that the traders “stiffly opposed” the government’s move to close down the market earlier.

“Attempts were made several times to shift the market out of Koyambedu, but the traders refused to cooperate, fearing loss of business. So, reports in sections of the media that the government’s inaction led to the spread of the disease from Koyambedu are not true,” the Chief Minister said.

The TN government is facing criticism over failure to maintain lockdown orders and implement social distancing norms despite several media reports pointing out the potential threat of infection from the market.

The total number of coronavirus cases in India has jumped to 74,281 while the death toll has risen to 2,415, according to the data released by the Health Ministry. In past 24 hours, 3,525 fresh coronavirus cases have been detected while 122 deaths were registered due to coronavirus.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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