Night curfew from 9pm in Punjab districts amid Covid surge
Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh warns of tougher measures in next few days to tackle dangerous Covid situation
Warning of several more tough measures and restrictions over the next few days, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced a two-hour extension in the night curfew in the state’s nine districts worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Night curfew will now be in place from 9pm to 5am, instead of 11pm to 5am, in the districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Ropar. All these districts are reporting more than 100 cases daily.
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The announcement came as Punjab reported 2,039 cases with 35 deaths on Wednesday.
Restriction on gatherings in the offing
Addressing a press conference to mark the completion of four years of his government, the chief minister said the Covid situation in the state was critical and he was going to be tough.
Several stringent measures, including restriction on gatherings, will be announced after discussions with the state government’s expert Covid team over the next couple of days, he said. Whether these will include restrictions on political gatherings was something that will be decided according to the medical expert team’s advice, he said.
“I won’t be easy on the people. People may not like it, but it’s my duty,” he said.
Penalty on protocol violators may be hiked
With 283 Covid patients in high-dependency units (on oxygen) and another 27 on ventilators, the situation is dangerous, said Captain Amarinder, urging people to go to the doctor and get themselves tested even if they feel slightly unwell. The problem is people are going to hospitals too late, he said. He appealed to citizens to wear masks and maintain social distancing, warning that penalties may also be enhanced if required.
The chief minister hoped the Centre would accept his suggestion at the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on opening up vaccination to younger people in the worst-hit areas and also to those in public dealing.
Capt not for restricting religious movement
To a question on Himachal Pradesh CM’s statement seeking curbs on people coming in from Punjab for pilgrimage and religious purposes, Captain Amarinder said he was not in favour of restricting religious movement. But the Covid problem needs to be controlled, he said, adding that an appropriate decision will be taken when he gets a formal letter from the chief minister of the neighbouring state.
Captain Amarinder Singh said that he had called up Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who has tested positive for Covid and was then in Fortis Mohali, to offer help in his treatment. Sukhbir was subsequently shifted to Medanta Hospital, Gurugram. The chief minister hoped Sukhbir will recover soon, as would several of his cabinet colleagues, party MLAs and officials.