Journalists, photojournalists and camerapersons working in print and broadcast media in Tamil Nadu would be treated as frontline workers, the soon-to-be Chief Minister, MK Stalin, announced on Tuesday. They would now be eligible for all due rights and concessions given to a frontline worker, including priority COVID-19 vaccination.
The media personnel would also get priority in treatment at government expense and compensation in the event of Covid-related deaths.
Tamil Nadu has around 10,000 newspersons. At least ten of them have died due to COVID-19. At least 500 media personnel have tested positive in Chennai alone.
Welcoming the move, Joint Secretary of the Chennai Press Club, Bharathi Thamizhan, who had made a request on this to Mr Stalin on Monday, said “On taking over as Chief Minister, Mr MK Stalin should also issue a government order towards this to make it official”.
Ahead of polls, the state government had paved way for reporters on the ground to get inoculated, treating them as frontline workers. However, newspersons were not included in the list of frontline workers.
“The fourth pillar of democracy is risking its life amid pandemic and work hard in rain and heat to disseminate information and create awareness among the people,” MK Stalin said.
Tamil Nadu continued to witness a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, with 21,228 new cases being added on Tuesday, pushing the caseload to 12,49,292. As many as 144 COVID related deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the death count to 14,612, the health department said.
MK Stalin who met senior bureaucrats advised them to ensure availability of beds, oxygen and ICUs besides supplying anti-viral drug Remdesivir and others in key towns as its being done in Chennai.
With positivity rate crossing 10 per cent in districts and use of ICU and oxygen crossing 60 per cent in districts, the state government, last night, also announced fresh restrictions from the 6th to 20th of this month, including closure of all shops except stand alone provision stores, food, milk and vegetable shops which can remain open till noon. Government and private offices can function only with 50 per cent staff. The total lockdown on Sundays would continue.