Amid growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered a slew of restrictions, including capping limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings, increased COVID testing and night curfew. The chief minister capped indoor gatherings to 100 and outdoor to 200 persons from March 1, along with strict enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing, with testing to be ramped to 30,000 a day.
He said a decision on reducing occupancy in cinema halls will be taken after March 1. Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the situation, he also authorised the Deputy Commissioners to impose night curfew in hotspots in their districts if needed, with micro containment strategy to be adopted.
New COVID-19 restrictions imposed in Punjab:
1. The CM directed the police to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of masks, along with notification of Covid-19 monitors by all restaurants, marriage palaces, with the Department of Excise and Taxation to be the nodal agency in this regard.
2. Private offices and restaurants will be encouraged to display last tests done for all employees, he said.
3. Directing increased testing, Amarinder Singh ordered mandatory testing of 15 contacts per positive, with review to be undertaken by the Health Department.
4. Further, the Chief Minister took stock of the vaccination status, underlining the need to carry out an information and education campaign (IEC) to promote 100 per cent coverage of healthcare and frontline workers.
5. He directed the Health Department to plan for a strategise roll-out of vaccines for the elderly population and those with comorbidities.
6. He underscored the need for continued supervision of protocols for managing patients with comorbidities, especially in private facilities.
Chief Secretary Vinni Mahajan ruled out the re-closure of government schools and said the department is taking all the steps to ensure the safety of students.
Education Secretary Krishan Kumar said teachers have been designated nodal officers in schools to instruct students on the proper use of masks and to ensure adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Earlier, in a brief presentation, Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the meeting that the districts of Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, SAS Nagar and SBS Nagar had shown a spike in positivity in recent days, triggering concerns over a possible fresh wave in the state.
On the vaccination front, he said there had so far been 61 cases of minor adverse events following immunisation, while six severe and 14 serious cases had been reported. All had since recovered, he added.