Punjab extends lockdown till May 17; curbs to ease for 4 hours
Based on the report of an expert committee set up to map Punjab exit strategy, and the inputs received from various sections of society, it is necessary to enforce the lockdown restrictions for longer in areas that have been hit by Covid-19, Singh said.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 00:23 IST
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that a curfew will stay in force in the state for two weeks beyond May 3, when the national lockdown for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) s due to be lifted. He also outlined steps for an easing of restrictions, with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols, starting on Thursday in areas that aren’t classified as containment or red zones.
Based on the report of an expert committee set up to map Punjab exit strategy, and the inputs received from various sections of society, it is necessary to enforce the lockdown restrictions for longer in areas that have been hit by Covid-19, Singh said. Curfew enforced in the state in March will now remain in force until May 17.
The containment and red zones will remain under a total and strict lockdown.
In an address to the people of the state, the chief minister said the situation will be reviewed after two weeks and further relaxations may be announced if the pandemic remains under control. He asked the people to continue to practice social distancing norms
Restrictions in the curfew-bound areas will be eased from 7 am to 11 am daily starting on Thursday. Certain shops will be allowed to remain open by rotation with 50% staff strength during the four hours. District deputy commissioners have been directed to work out the rotational schedule for the shops that are allowed to open.
All those stepping out during the four-hour period would have to wear masks and maintain a 2-metre distance from others, the chief minister said, adding that the relief had been provided for the convenience of the people and should not be used for interactions with friends.
In urban areas, all stand-alone shops, neighbourhood shops and stores in residential complexes are allowed to be open during the period, according to the guidelines, which make it clear that establishments offering services such as beauty saloons and barber shops would remain closed.E-commerce companies will be permitted to deliver only essential goods.
The chief minister urged industrial units that can accommodate their workers on-site or had employees staying in the vicinity to start opening operations to help revive the state’s economy.
Singh said it was his government’s duty to bring back Punjabis stranded in other states because of the lockdown, but they would have to be quarantined for 21 days after their return. The state government has made quarantine arrangements in all districts, he said.
Singh said the Covid-19 situation in Punjab had been compounded by visiting non-resident Indians who had been exposed to the virus and the return of those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last month at the Islamic missionary group’s headquarters in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti that went on to become India’s biggest coronavirus hotspot.
Punjab, he said, cannot afford to let those coming from outside to exacerbate the situation again. The quarantine for those coming home from other states is essential for the protection of the people, he said.