Delhi

Punjab imposes stricter curbs amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Amid surge in COVID-19 cases in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered stricter restrictions beginning April 20, including extension of night curfew timings - 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., closure of all bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres, sports complexes, with restaurants and hotels having been allowed to open only for takeaway and home delivery, from Monday to Saturday.

Gatherings of more than 20 people, for weddings or cremations, have also been banned across the State. Prior approval of the district administration is needed for all gatherings of more than 10 people, except for cremation.

The new restrictions, which also include closure of all malls, shops and markets on Sunday, coupled with the ones imposed earlier, will remain in effect till April 30, the Chief Minister announced. He directed the police to strictly enforce the restrictions, taking support of civil society organisations, where needed. All weekly markets have also ordered to be stay shut.

Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the State, he also said that all people flying into Punjab should have a negative RT-PCR, which is not more than 72-hour-old, else they would have to undergo a RAT test at the airport. He also said that people, who have attended large gatherings will have to stay in home quarantine for five days and tested as per protocol.

The Chief Minister told the Transport department to restrict the number of people in buses, taxis and autos to 50% of the capacity.

In a bid to check in-bound travellers, Mr. Singh said that RAT testing booths should be set up at bus stands and railway stations and all passengers should be checked. All eligible persons should also get vaccinated.

The Chief Minister directed 75% reservation of L-3 facilities for COVID patients at all private hospitals providing critical COVID care. He said that no elective surgeries should be conducted in any government or private hospitals till May 15 and all OPD patients must be tested.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal, in a presentation, said the State’s positivity rate was static at around 7.8%, but had shown a quantum jump thereafter, going up to 12.6% as of April 15, with Mohali being the worst hit at 36.53%. The spike, he said, could be attributed to the new variant, along with people coming back from large gatherings from outside Punjab.

The figure was expected to go up further with more testing, he said, adding that by May 5, the State was projected to report 6,000 cases a day if urgent measures were not implemented in districts of Ludhiana, SAS Nagar (Mohali), Jalandhar , Amritsar and Patiala, which would be the drivers of the spike.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:17:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/punjab-imposes-stricter-curbs-amid-surge-in-covid-19-cases/article34362698.ece

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