Other States

Weekend lockdown imposed in Punjab

Amid rising COVID-19 cases across the State, Punjab on Monday decided to impose weekend lockdown and extend the timings of night curfew.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced the decision of the Cabinet on Twitter. “Due to continuous and rapid rise of #Covid19 cases in Punjab, Cabinet today has decided to impose daily lockdown from 6 PM to 5 AM and weekend lockdown from Friday 6 PM to Monday 5 AM. Urge you all to stay at home & step out only if absolutely necessary. Seek your full cooperation,” he said a tweet.

The Cabinet also gave approval to allow the recruitment of 473 posts of staff nurses in Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, attached with Government Medical Colleges of Patiala and Amritsar respectively by taking these posts out of the purview of Subordinate Service Selection Board to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot through the written test on the basis of merit, according to an official statement.

Bed scarcity

The number of beds to treat COVID-19 patients at the government hospitals is close to saturation in Chandigarh, forcing the administration on Monday to make a clarion call to various groups and associations to come forward in scaling up the capacity.

On April 26, the total number of dedicated COVID-19 beds at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) was 337 of which 286 were occupied — among these 222 patients were occupying the non-ICU oxygen beds while the other 64 were occupying the ICU beds, including ventilator beds) — according to official data.

The Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector -32, has 95 COVID-19 beds and 79 of those were occupied till the morning of April 26. The capacity of COVID-19 beds is intended to be increased to 155 beds soon. In the south campus of GMCH, there are 100 COVID-19 beds with 57 being occupied. Apart from this, at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector-16, there are a total of 200 dedicated COVID-19 beds where 168 were occupied, the data showed.

Fresh cases

Chandigarh reported 821 new COVID-19 cases on April 26 and reported five deaths.

Asim from Panchkula, who was accompanying his mother-in-law — a COVID-19 patient at GMSH — expressed anguish against the ruling government at the Centre. He said it was over an hour and the patient was still waiting in the campus as the staff is completing formalities at a snail’s pace, pointing to a shortage of beds. “They [staff] told me that they don’t have a bed right now. Also, they don’t have non-rebreather mask... I am trying to arrange the mask but so far haven’t got it from nearby chemists. When they know the cases are rising why they don’t keep necessary items in stock?,” he said, adding that his mother-in-law was referred from a hospital in Manimajra.

Pramod Sharma, Founder of Yuvsatta, an NGO involved in healthcare for marginalised women, said: “It’s high time for government to shun theatrics and streamline the basics of medicines, oxygen supply, adequate number of beds, health facilities and free vaccines for all adults.”

V.K. Nagpal, Medical Superintendent, GMSH-16 said: “We need to increase the number of beds. The patients, however, should not panic.”

Arun Gupta, Principal Secretary (Health), said: “We are trying to shift certain ICU beds from non-COVID to COVID and also increasing the number of oxygenated beds in all government hospitals, including PGIMER almost on daily basis.”

Chandigarh Adviser Manoj Parida made an appeal: “To reduce pressure on government infrastructure, groups and associations like those of advocates, architects, CAs, traders, Public Sector Undertakings should set up small covid care centres with 10 or more beds for their members, under supervision of available health workers from private-government sources.”

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 5:15:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/weekend-lockdown-imposed-in-punjab/article34418375.ece

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