Lockdown again in Punjab? CM hints strict curbs.

Chandigarh, March 31( P2P) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday warned of stricter restrictions if the Covid situation in the state, which is reeling under a massive surge of cases and deaths, does not improve over the next one week.

The situation will be reviewed again on April 8, and decision on further curbs may be taken if the Covid spread continues unchecked, the Chief Minister said, at a virtual review meeting with top health, administrative and police officials. “I will watch things for a week, and then if there is no improvement, we may have to go for stricter curbs,” he said.

Underlining the need for aggressive vaccination, particularly in areas with high case and cities with more than 300 cases, Captain Amarinder directed officials to reach out to eligible people at the Mohalla level in the worst affected districts to motivate people to get vaccinated. He also directed stricter enforcement of Covid restrictions and protocols in the worst affected cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali and Amritsar.

Dr KK Talwar, head of the state’s Covid expert committee, said more enforcement of restrictions was needed in the urban areas, which were reporting higher cases. DGP Dinkar Gupta said since March 19, a total of 1.30 lakh people had been taken for RTPCR testing on being found moving around without masks. Of these, 391 were found positive, he disclosed.

The districts of SAS Nagar, Kapurthala, Patiala, SBS Nagar, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana are reporting the maximum positivity, while the overall positivity in the state stands at 7.6% as of March 24, 2021.

Taking note of the inconvenience caused to commuters, the Chief Minister also ordered doing away with the one-hour silence on Saturdays to commemorate the Covid warriors.

The Chief Minister expressed concern over the high death rate due to Covid in Punjab, which Dr Talwar said was due to patients not coming to hospitals in time and the rate of co-morbidities also being high in the state. Dr Talwar informed the meeting that 80-85% patients dying have chronic diseases.

The Chief Minister directed the administration to develop a robust mechanism to get people with co-morbidities to the hospital at the earliest, besides stricter monitoring of home isolated people.

He also once again appealed to religious and political leaders of all hues to promote Covid appropriate behaviour in the interest of the people of the state.