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Coronavirus | Punjab sees biggest spike of COVID-19 cases in a single day at 331

Jalandhar: Sikh pilgrims stranded at Gurdwara Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra due to the lockdown, return to Punjab in special buses arranged by the state government, in Jalandhar, Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

Jalandhar: Sikh pilgrims stranded at Gurdwara Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra due to the lockdown, return to Punjab in special buses arranged by the state government, in Jalandhar, Wednesday, April 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Punjab on Sunday saw its biggest one-day spike in the novel coronavirus cases — 331 — and reported one more death taking the tally to 21, according to an official statement.

The number of positive cases has reached 1,102 with most of the new cases being pilgrims who had recently returned from Nanded where they had gone to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Hazur Sahib.

The patient who died was from Ferozepur. He tested positive and was being treated at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College. The Health department said 75 cases were reported from Amritsar, 62 from SBS Nagar, 46 from Hoshiarpur, 43 from Muktsar, 33 from Bathinda, 24 from Gurdaspur, 16 from Ludhiana and nine from Ropar among other districts. The active cases are 964 and 117 patients have so far been cured, it added.

The politics surrounding the “Nanded pilgrims” continued as the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders carried on their verbal spat.

Also read: Curbs gone? Confusion in Punjab

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu asked SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and other Akali leaders to apologies to the “Sikh Sangat” for their misleading propaganda after 20-25 ‘sewadars’ of the Gurdwara Langar Sahib in Maharashtra have tested positive.

“In view of the sewadars of the Gurdwara Langar Sahib in Nanded testing positive after tests conducted there, it was evident that the pilgrims had contracted the virus before entering Punjab,” he said.

Also read: Coronavirus India lockdown Day 40 updates

Mr. Sidhu hit out at the Akali leaders for indulging in political one-upmanship over a very sensitive issue like this, that too without verifying facts. “These leaders unnecessarily hyped the issue by spreading this propaganda that pilgrims are being labelled corona positives as part of a conspiracy. By politicising this issue, the Akali leaders are not only trying to demoralise all frontline warriors who are going beyond their call of duty to save Punjab but also giving false and fabricated comments,” he said.

Former Minister and SAD leader Bikram Majithia asked the Punjab government to transfer all Hazur Sahib pilgrims — quarantined in unhygienic government facilities — to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee ‘sarai’. Sikh organisations and the SAD would look after them, he said.

Accusing the Congress leaders of playing politics, Mr. Majithia said the party would not allow them to turn the pilgrims into scapegoats to hide their own failures. “We will also not allow anyone to demean Takth Sri Hazur Sahib or the sangat which has returned after paying its obeisance,” he said.

Mr. Majithia said the Punjab government did not follow the ICMR guidelines while bringing back the pilgrims. “Air conditioned buses were used against established norms. Social distancing was not followed. The buses came through red zones and it was because of this mishandling that pilgrims, who were in good health in Nanded for more than one month, tested positive for COVID-19 on return to Punjab,” he alleged.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 11:47:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-sees-biggest-spike-of-covid-19-cases-in-a-single-day-at-331/article31495452.ece

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