Chennai Corporation has announced that reusable cloth masks will be distributed for free to slum dwellers all across the city. In a statement, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) said that two masks will be given during the first phase to nearly 26 lakh residents while another 50 lakh masks will be provided to people in the 650 slum colonies across the city. 

The initiative has begun keeping in mind how the novel coronavirus can spread among people who live close to each other with emphasis being laid on social distancing. Considering people in slum colonies are at close proximity at most times, the decision to distribute masks among slum dwellers has been of key importance for officials. As of now, the government is said to have placed orders to procure more than 40 lakh masks with the first batch containing over 27 lakh masks having arrived already. 

Special officer for COVID-19 appointed to the Chennai Corporation J. Radhakrishnan kicked off the distribution of the masks at the Kannagi Nagar slum resettlement colony in Sholinganallur zone on Thursday, which is said to be housing more than 2,300 families. The resettlement colony constructed by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has up until now recorded 27 people with coronavirus infections. Around 13 people in the colony had tested positive on Wednesday after which13 containment zones were established in the colony and 150 staff were assigned to conduct a door-to-door fever and flu survey on a daily basis. So far, four people were identified to have contracted the COVID-19 infection based on the survey.