PUNJAB CM MAKES FULL VACCINATION, -VE RTPCR REPORT MANDATORY FOR ALL ENTERING STATE FROM MONDAY
ONLY FULLY VACCINATED/RECENTLY RECOVERED ALLOWED TO TEACH IN SCHOOLS, TEACHERS TO BE PRIORITISED FOR INNOCULATION
DIRECTS SCHOOLS TO LIMIT SEATING TO 1 CHILD A BENCH, ORDERS MINIMUM 10000 TESTS A DAY FOR SCHOOLS
Chandigarh, August 14
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered mandatory full Covid vaccination or negative RTPCR report for all those entering the state from Monday, with strict monitoring particularly of those coming from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, which are showing increased positivity.
Amid reports of Covid cases in schools, the Chief Minister has also directed that only fully vaccinated teaching and non-teaching staff, or those recently recovered from Covid, should physically teach in schools and colleges, with online learning option to remain available to all children.
He further ordered prioritisation of teachers and non-teaching staff for vaccination, with special camps to be held to ensure that all are covered with the first dose within this month and those due for the 2nd dose to be also prioritised. Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu suggested reducing the gap between the two doses to prioritise second dose for teachers and other school staff.
The directives came at a Covid review meeting chaired by Captain Amarinder Singh, who expressed concern about the positivity in Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country, which has caused positivity in Punjab to also increase marginally to 0.2% in the last week, with RO going up to 1.05%. The Cambridge study has also predicted that cases are likely to double in the next 64 days, he warned, announcing new restrictions in addition to those already in force.
The Chief Minister has ordered at least 10000 test samples of students and staff from schools to be undertaken every day. Districts/cities where positivity is above 0.2 % have been asked to shut down physical education for Classes 4 and below until the situation improves.
The rule on full vaccination or negative RTPCR report will apply to all those entering Punjab by road, rail or air, announced the Chief Minister, adding that if a person is found to not have
either of these, RAT testing shall be mandatory, unless he/she has recently recovered from Covid.
On schools, which have recently reopened for certain classes in the state, the Chief Minister said while there were some reports of high positivity in schools, the fact was that intensive testing had shown that the positivity amongst school students is 0.1 % against overall positivity of 0.2 % in the past one week. Since 9th August, 41 students and 1 staff member in government schools have tested positive.
Calling for strict vigil, he directed the concerned departments to ensure that only fully vaccinated teaching as well as non-teaching staff shall physically teach in schools and colleges. In case the whole teaching staff is not fully vaccinated, those who are fully vaccinated can attend to the students in the school and virtual classes can be taken by teachers who are not fully vaccinated. The number of students should be suitably curtailed if enough fully vaccinated teachers are not available, ordered the Chief Minister, directing schools to allow seating of only one child per bench.
Captain Amarinder said parents of school going children should also be encouraged to immediately get vaccinated in order to enable the physical learning in schools without any interruptions.
Even as he expressed satisfaction over commencement of operations at the Whole Genome Sequencing Lab at GMCH Patiala in association with PATH, with none of the 8 samples tested there so far showing only delta variant, the Chief Minister noted that the month wise whole genome sequencing sent to NCDC has shown that the Delta variant remains predominant. Beginning today, 92 samples will be every three weeks for genome sequencing. The process for inclusion of VRDL Patiala in INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics) was on, the meeting was informed.
The Chief Minister further noted that post Covid care was now available at all GMCHs and District Hospitals. The meeting was informed that Mucormycosis cases have come down substantially and only 1 case was reported last week as opposed to 6 in the previous week. Due disability benefits as per the eligibility are being provided to patients.
IN PREPARATION OF 3RD COVID WAVE, CAPT AMARINDER ORDERS TESTS TO BE SCALED TO 60000/DAY
VIRTUALLY INAUGURATES CHILDREN’S COVID WARD & PSA OXYGEN PLANTS IN LUDHIANA & FARIDKOT
Chandigarh, August 14
With projections of new cases set to double in about 64 days at the present rate of growth, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered Covid testing in the state to be increased to at least 60,000 tests per day, while virtually inaugurating a Children’s Covid Ward as well as PSA Oxygen plants in Ludhiana and Faridkot.
Reviewing the state’s preparation an imminent third wave, Captain Amarinder directed the Health Department to undertake priority sentinel testing for OPD/IPD patients at Government and private hospitals, travellers at entry points, Government offices, industries and labour colonies, staff at marriage palaces, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms etc. Based on this, Districts should formulate strategies for micro-containment zones, he said, noting with satisfaction that GIS based surveillance and prevention tool, with an auto trigger mechanism for localised restrictions, is now live in all Districts and will help guide local restrictions, if needed.
The Covid Paediatric Ward at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, has 5 Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) & 08 Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MISC) beds. The advanced ultra-modern PICUs are comparable with the best in the country, said the Chief Minister, thanking Vijay Munjal of Hero Ecotech Ltd, Ludhiana, and Dr. Bishav Mohan from DMC&H, for donating equipment worth Rs. 20 lacs. The doctors and nurses have been trained with the help of Dr. Bishav Mohan.
The ward has ECHO & Cardiology backup from DMC&H. Dr. Rupesh Aggarwal (Singapore) for Project O2 with Zeiss, India, donated 5 PICU beds. Other infrastructure facilities were provided by the Punjab Government. The Chief Minister announced that the government would be augmenting the PICU and level 2 paediatric beds capacity in all 23 Districts and 4 GMCHs to 1,104 paediatric beds.
The PSA Oxygen plants in Ludhiana inaugurated by the Chief Minister include 1000 LPM each at ESI Hospital and Civil Hospital, and 500 LPM at Urban Health Centre, Vardhman. He also inaugurated a 2000 litre PSA plant, sponsored by SPS Oberoi, at Baba Farid MCH Faridkot
Captain Amarinder said a total of 76 PSA Plants (41 GoI supported and 35 donor supported) are being installed in the State, with 48832 LPM oxygen generation capacity. With installation of these plants, the State’s dependency on oxygen supply from outside Punjab will substantially reduce, he said, adding that preparations were on to augment the oxygen capacity to 560 MT, including 235 MT of LMO and around 328 MT from PSA plants, ASUs and Oxygen Concentrators. This includes 50 MT oxygen for non COVID emergency situations, in order to ensure that non Covid patients do not suffer, he added. At the peak of second wave, Punjab was utilising about 308 MT Oxygen.
The Chief Minister also asked the Health and Medical Education departments to speed up augmentation of the health infrastructure and medical supplies to deal with the the third wave of COVID-19. The State Government would be spending more than Rs.1000 Crore in the current year for this purpose, under the Emergency COVID response package-II (ECRP), Fifteenth Finance Commission Grant, Disaster Management Fund.
Under the Emergency ECRP, Rs. 331.48 Cr, in the ratio of 60% Center Share and 40% State Share, is being spent in Punjab to establish Pediatric Care Units in all District Hospitals and Medical Colleges. The meeting was informed that 20 bedded units would be set up at 41 SDH & 89 CHC and 6 bedded units at 153 PHC in the State. A Pediatric Centre of Excellence is also being set up in the Medical College Amrtisar. The Government has also decided to set-up RT-PCR testing labs in all districts of Punjab. The meeting was further informed that these labs are already operational in Medical Colleges of Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot.
The 15th Finance Commission has recommended Rs 2130.71 crore for the state of Punjab as Health grants with Rural and Urban components. Rs. 401 Crore has been sanctioned for the State in the current year. The grant shall be utilized for strengthening of urban and rural health infrastructure, including provision of 63 Diagnostic tests at PHC level and 14 at Sub centres level.
Dr KK Talwar informed the meeting that the state was fully geared to tackle the third wave, and the situation was currently stable.