Punjab extends Covid-19 restrictions till Sept 30 in view of festive season
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered the further extension of coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related restrictions in the state till September 30 due to the forthcoming festival season.
Chairing a virtual high-level Covid-19 review meeting, Singh appealed to all political parties to lead by example – while directing the Director General of Police (DGP), Dinkar Gupta, to ensure compliance of curbs by all.
The chief minister also asked the department of social security to start preparations to open Anganwadi centres within this month – thereby making Punjab the first state to do so. However, he mentioned that the opening of these centres will be in regards to the vaccination of the employees and other protocols that will be laid down by the state health department, an official release noted.
Meanwhile, Dr KK Talwar, head of Punjab government’s Covid expert committee, said that the coronavirus situation in the state was “under control” but there was a need to prepare for the third wave, and also for the upcoming festival season. He has also appealed to Singh to ask religious organisations such as temples and Gurdwaras to make regular announcements for wearing of masks.
Dr Talwar has asked for the same protocol to be followed in markets as well, with shopkeepers and their staff getting tested “aggressively” in view of the festival time.
What are the guidelines laid down by Captain Singh?
1. Not more than 300 people can attend gatherings, including political ones and strict enforcement of Covid-19 protocols of wearing masks and maintaining social distance will be in place.
2. Chief minister Singh has also mandated all organisers, including political parties, to make sure that participants, management and the employees at food stalls during the festival season, are inoculated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
3. Singh has also directed chief secretary Vini Mahajan to form joint flying squads with the state police in order to ensure adherence to Covid-19 norms at marriage places, and restaurants, among others.
4. Captain Singh has also ordered ramping up of testing from the current 45,000 per day to at least 50,000 each day as preparations to combat the probable third wave of the coronavirus. He added that besides sentinel testing, outreach camps and testing should be adopted, especially where public gatherings are likely due to the festival time.
5. The chief minister has also asked all infrastructure augmentation tasks to be completed and expedited.
6. Singh further directed the health department to take micro-containment measures using GIS-based surveillance and prevention tools for areas or neighbourhoods where Covid-19 cases are above five. These tools come with an auto-trigger mechanism for localised restrictions, and are now live in all districts of Punjab, the official release read.