MK Stalin proclaims TN journalists to be frontline workers
In the event of a Covid-related death, media workers will receive priority care and compensation at the expense of the government.
MK Stalin, the soon-to-be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, declared on Tuesday that journalists, photojournalists, and camera persons working in print and broadcast media in the state will be considered as frontline staff. They will also be liable for all due privileges and concessions, including priority COVID-19 vaccination, as a frontline worker.
In the event of a Covid-related death, media workers will receive priority care and compensation at the expense of the government. Around 10,000 journalists work in Tamil Nadu. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of at least ten of them. In Chennai alone, at least 500 journalists have tested positive.
"On taking over as Chief Minister, Mr MK Stalin should also issue a government order towards this to make it official," said Bharathi Thamizhan, Joint Secretary of the Chennai Press Club, who had demanded this from Mr Stalin on Monday.
The state government had paved the way for reporters on the ground to be inoculated ahead of the election, treating them as frontline staff. The list of frontline staff, however, did not include journalists.
"The fourth pillar of democracy is putting its life on the line in the face of a pandemic, working hard in the rain and heat to disseminate information and raise public consciousness," MK Stalin stated.
The number of COVID-19 infections in Tamil Nadu continued to rise sharply on Tuesday, with 21,228 new cases added, bringing the total to 12,49,292. In the last 24 hours, 144 COVID-related deaths have been confirmed, bringing the total number of deaths to 14,612, according to the health department.
MK Stalin, who met with senior bureaucrats, advised them to ensure the availability of beds, oxygen, and ICUs, as well as distributing anti-viral drugs to Remdesivir and others in key cities, as Chennai has done.
The state government announced new restrictions from the 6th to the 20th of this month, including the closure of all shops except stand-alone provision stores, food, milk, and vegetable shops, which can remain open until noon. With the positivity rate crossing 10% in districts and the use of ICU and oxygen crossing 60% in districts, the state government announced new restrictions last night, including the closure of all shops except stand-alone provision stores, food, milk, and vegetable shops, which can remain open until noon.
Government and private departments should only operate with half of their employees. On Sundays, the complete lockout will be maintained.