In gross violation of coronavirus safety norms, a large number of workers from the ruling AIADMK – many without masks – gathered in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai to welcome a minister who had returned from the hospital after recovering from COVID-19.
Physical distancing, key to containing the spread of the coronavirus, was ignored as supporters vied with each other to catch a glimpse of Cooperation Minister Sellur Raju, whose home seat is Madurai West.
Police officers and party functionaries accompanying the minister had to restrict supporters from getting too close to Mr Raju. The crowd even disrupted traffic and burst crackers on the road as the minister’s motorcade arrived.
The visuals are particularly disturbing as Madurai is currently the state’s second biggest coronavirus hotspots after Chennai.
Earlier, wishing speedy recovery to Mr Raju, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had appealed to the people to be careful and cautious while doing their duty.
Mr Raju had tested positive for the coronavirus on July 10. He is the third minister to get COVID-19 in the EK Palaniswami-led government. In Tamil Nadu, at least 10 MLAs, including ministers, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Recently, DMK lawmaker Palakadai Anbazhagan died after contracting the coronavirus. A few hundred people had gathered for his funeral compromising social distancing norms.
Tamil Nadu has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country after Maharashtra. The state reported 5,864 fresh cases yesterday, taking its total number of active cases to 57,962, with 3,838 deaths.
Today, India reported more than 50,000 cases for second day in a row. There are now more than 5.45 lakh active cases in the country. Its recovery rate stands at almost 64 per cent with a doubling rate of 20 days.