Complete lockdown if restrictions are not followed, says Punjab CM

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Though not in favour of complete and harsh lockdown, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh said he will be forced to do so, if there is any laxity in following the restrictions

The Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has warned that though he is not in favour of complete and harsh lockdown, any laxity in following the restrictions will force him to consider that option in the State.

The CM was chairing a high-level virtual meeting to the review the Covid-19 situation.

According to an UNI report, elaborating on why he refrained from ordering a sweeping lockdown, Singh said because it will hurt the poor the most and would lead to exodus of migrant labourers, plunging industries into chaos again. However, if the people do not stringently comply with the restrictions in place, harsher steps might have to be taken, he added.

The Punjab, wracked by the Covid-19 surge has adopted a simple screening method -- only those with a negative coronavirus report can enter the state. Punjab's Covid "passport" system is being enforced when only yesterday, 58,229 active cases were reported out of a total of 3,77,990.

The Police Police enforcing the Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the State (Pic: Courtesy Twitter/@PunjabPoliceInd)

Curtailing the inflow of pandemic

Seized by the alarming growth in the Coronavirus affected people in the State, the Home Department of Punjab Government has issued orders that anyone arriving there by road, air or train has to furnish a Covid-19 negative report. This should not be more than 72 hours old or vaccination certificate over two weeks old, otherwise entry will not be granted.

Further, in order to check movement of people, all non-essential shops will continue to remain closed till May 15.

The chemist shops and establishments that deal in the supply of essential products like milk, bread, vegetables, fruits, dairy and poultry products like eggs, meat and mobile repair shops will be allowed to open.

Keeping in mind the need for testing and healthcare, there are no restrictions on laboratories, nursing homes and all other medical establishments.

To check large gatherings of people, the State has decided to keep all bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, swimming pools, coaching centres and sports complexes closed. Further, the weekly markets, such as apni mandis, will also be closed.

While eating joints, like restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, dhabas and fast-food outlets will remain closed for dine-in, home delivery is allowed by them, that too till 9 p.m.

 

Other restrictions imposed are as follows:

  • All government offices and banks are to operate with 50 per cent strength except those involved in Covid management.
  • All places of worship including gurudwaras, temples, mosques and churches will close at 6 p.m. every day.
  • Only two people can travel in all four-wheelers including cars and taxis, Vehicles carrying patients to hospitals have been exempted.
  • No pillion riders on motorcycles and scooters will be allowed except those of the same family and living in the same house.
  • Not more than ten people are allowed for marriages or funerals.
  • Besides, the daily night curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and weekend curfew from 6 p.m. on Friday till 5 a.m. on Monday will continue.

Study of Covid-19 variants

While putting in place restrictions, the State is also observing how the pandemic is panning out in the State.

Speaking to the Indian Express, the Punjab Government’s Health Advisor and Head of the Covid-19 Expert Committee Dr. K. K. Talwar said that there was a need to study more variants of the virus and the approach needs to be more aggressive.

“When we had analysed the situation in the beginning of the second wave in March, 80-85% of the samples from Punjab which underwent genome sequencing were found having the UK variant which is believed to be less fatal but more infectious. However, with still a lot of deaths happening in Punjab, there’s an urgent need to look for more variants,” he said.

Going further, he added: “More and more samples need to be studied and find out if any other variant has entered the State… double mutation, triple mutation.. it can be anything. More and more genome sequencing of the samples needs to be a regular feature now. We need a more aggressive approach to contain the virus in the State.”

Voicing his concern on major gatherings he said: “It is disappointing to see that farmers’ protests, rallies etc are still happening here…”

Stressing on the need for detection, Dr. Talwar said that the immediate strategy should be to test, isolate and detect cases early to reduce fatalities.

On the issue of vaccination drive for those between 18 and 44 years, the Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Hussan Lal disclosed that the Expert Group set up for preparing the vaccination strategy had submitted its first report.

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