All schools and Colleges in Punjab closed till 31 March 2021

All schools and Colleges in Punjab closed till 31 March 2021

Amid fresh #COVID19 surge, Punjab CM @capt_amarinder orders state-wide curbs, schools/colleges shut down till March 31, cinemas to function with 50% capacity, not more than 100 people in malls. Urges people to keep visitors under 10.

In 11 worst-hit districts, Punjab CM @capt_amarinder orders night curfew (9pm-5am). From Sunday, ban on all social gatherings in these districts, except funerals/cremations with 20 attendees. Cinemas, malls, multiplexes, restaurants to be closed on Sundays to check #COVID surge.

After review of #Covid situation, Punjab CM @capt_amarinder orders enforcement of micro-containment strategy in all districts, ramping up of testing to 35000/day, asks well-functioning hospitals to restore Covid beds & suspend elective surgeries. Procurement put off to April 10.

Amid fresh #COVID surge, Punjab CM @capt_amarinder asks all private & govt hospitals/healthcare facilities to offer hassle-free #CovidVaccine services for at least 8 hours daily, 7 days a week, till March 31. Says don’t ask for co-morbidity certificate if medical record exists.

*Covid Review – I*

PUNJAB CM ORDERS FRESH CURBS TO CHECK COVID SURGE, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS CLOSED TILL MARCH 31

CINEMA HALL CAPACITY RESTRICTED TO 50% & MALLS TO 100, CITIZENS ASKED TO KEEP VISITORS UNDER 10

IN UTBAN AREAS OF 11 WORST-HIT DISTRICTS, NIGHT CURFEW & BAN IMPOSED ON SOCIAL GATHERINGS, BARRING FUNERALS/CREMATIONS/ WEDDINGS WITH 20 PERSONS

MICRO-CONTAINMENT STRATEGY BACK IN ALL DISTRICTS, TESTING TO BE RAMPED UP FURTHER TO 35000/DAY

WELL-FUNCTIONING HOSPITALS ASKED TO RESTORE COVID BEDS & SUSPEND ELECTIVE SURGERIES

Chandigarh, March 19
Clamping down heavily on the fresh Covid surge, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered massive state-wide restrictions beginning tomorrow, with closure of educational institutions till March 31 and restrictions on cinema/mall capacities.

All educational institutions, other than medical and nursing colleges, will remain closed till March 31, with restriction of 50% capacity in cinema halls and not more than 100 persons in a mall at any time. He appealed to the people to keep social activity in their houses to the bare minimum for the next 2 weeks to break the transmission chain. Not more than 10 visitors should be entertained in homes, he urged.

In the 11 worst-hit districts, a complete ban has been ordered on all social gatherings and related functions, except for funerals/cremations/ weddings, which will be allowed with only 20 persons in attendance. This will be enforced from Sunday. In these districts, which will remain under night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, the Chief Minister has ordered cinemas, multiplexes, restaurants, malls etc to remain closed on Sundays, though home deliveries will be allowed subject to night curfew. Industries and essential services shall be allowed to function, but barring these, all restrictions shall be strictly enforced, the Chief Minister directed the top civic and police officials in these districts.

Also, starting next week, one hour of silence will be observed across the state every Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, in memory of those who lost their lives to Covid, with no vehicle to ply at this time. The Chief Minister asked the district administration to involve the general public, along with market committees, Sarpanches etc, in this initiative, which will, however, remain voluntary for them.

In the 11 worst affected districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Moga, the Chief Minister ordered restrictions on in-person public dealings in government offices, with citizens to be encouraged to visit offices only for essential services. Captain Amarinder directed officials to encourage online and virtual modes for grievance redressal, and asked concerned departments to issue necessary instructions for limiting appointments per day for registries etc.

Though other districts will not be placed under such stringent restrictions for now, the Chief Minister ordered immediate reinforcement and strict monitoring of the strategy of micro-containment and containment zones where there are evident clusters. He made it clear that if necessary, strict curbs will also be imposed in other districts if the situation worsens and Covid protocols and norms are not adhered to be by the people.

The situation will be reviewed after two weeks, said the Chief Minister, chairing a meeting of the Covid Task Force with top officials.

Directing health officials to ramp up testing per day to 35,000, the Chief Minister said special focus should be on super spreaders, and Government employees, teachers in educational institutions, etc. must be tested routinely. RAT testing should be stepped up along with RTPCR testing, he ordered, while directing contact tracing and contact testing to be taken up to 30 per positive person. The CPTOs must personally monitor this task, he said.

The Chief Minister also directed the Department of Medical Education & Research to immediately complete recruitment of specialists/super-specialists.

Captain Amarinder said well-functioning hospitals, where serious cases are best handled, have been advised to restore the Covid beds and postpone elective surgeries.

The names of the COVID Monitors, who are appointed at every establishment and office- the names, should be available with the District Administration, along with their numbers, said the Chief Minister They shall be responsible for ensuring following of COVID Appropriate Behaviour at their organisations, he said, adding that the Departments of Labour; Excise and Taxation, among others, must assist the Deputy Commissioners to enforce these instructions.

Dr KK Talwar, who heads the state government’s expert team on Covid, said the surge in cases appeared to be the result of opening of schools and colleges, with young asymptomatic people appearing to be spreading the virus. There was no evidence as of now to show that the spike was due to the mutants, as only 2 cases of new strains had been found in Punjab so far. The state currently has almost 40% cases from under 30 population, he added.

*Covid Review – II*

PUNJAB PUTS OFF PROCUREMENT TO APRIL 10 IN VIEW OF COVID SPIKE

Chandigarh, March 19
In view of the Covid spike in the state, the Punjab government will kick-start the procurement operations from April 10 this year.

The decision to delay the procurement was taken at a Covid review meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu told the meeting that the department needed more time to make arrangements to ensure safe procurement amid the surge in Covid cases.

He urged the Chief Minister to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extension in the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana.

Covid Review – III*

PUNJAB CM ASKS ALL PVT & GOVT HOSPITALS/HEALTHCARE FACILITIES TO VACCINATE 7 DAYS A WEEK, 8 HOURS DAILY, TILL MARCH 31

DIRECTS DISTRICT ADMIN TO COME DOWN HEAVILY ON 891 PVT FACILITIES WHERE NOT A SINGLE DOSE ADMINISTERED

Chandigarh, March 19
Taking note of the low vaccination numbers in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asked all private and government hospitals and health facilities to offer hassle-free vaccination services for at least 8 hours daily, 7 days a week, till March 31. There should be no requirement of a separate certificate if an eligible 45+ years person brings the medical record regarding co-morbidities, he further directed.

The directions came during the Covid review meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, who pointed out with concern that of the 1291 registered private facilities, 891 have reportedly not administered a single dose. He asked the district administration to come down strictly on such hospitals, stressing that private hospitals need to join the government battle against Covid for the survival of the state and its people. Rates to take the vaccine in private healthcare institutions must be publicised and overcharging should not be permitted, he directed the Health Department.

While he was happy to note that vaccine services were being offered at all PHCs and Government Hospitals 7 days a week, the Chief Minister said this was not enough and IEC activities needed to be immediately ramped up to urge all eligible to take the vaccine by publicising the benefits of the same, and the fact that these vaccines are safe.

He asked all elected and local leaders to make efforts to reach out to the public and address vaccination hesitancy. Community participation through Lok Sanjhedari should also be reorganised and mobilised to address vaccination hesitancy and COVID appropriate behaviour, said the Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder directed the Health Department to be proactive in reaching out to, and ensuring coverage of all frontline workers. This must include all those who provided essential services or were on COVID duty during the curfew and the lockdown, he added.

Adequate stocks of medicine, availability of manpower and resources should be ensured at healthcare facilities in all districts. Bed capacity for COVID patients in L2 &L3 hospitals should be ramped up and elective surgeries should be postponed/deferred till further orders, he further directed, adding that referral mechanism to L3 facilities must be in place and functional.

The Chief Minister said the Covid incidence in Punjab has remained relatively low over the last one year, and the state has consistently remained at the 18th position among all states in India in terms of the no. of Covid cases. Though the death rate has been a matter of concern, but at 206 Deaths per million population, Punjab compares well against Delhi at 542 and Maharashtra at 431, he added.

However, it was a matter of concern, said the Chief Minister, that after bringing the problem under control by the end of the last year, the state is again seeing a surge for the last one month. From a low of around 200 cases daily and deaths in single digits, Punjab has gone to around 2000 cases per day, and the deaths are also increasing, he noted.

“We have to be prepared for this second surge,” said Captain Amarinder, pointing out that the
1918 Spanish flu had four spikes. “We have to be prepared for a long battle,” he warned.

The Chief Minister assured, however, that his government was fully prepared to deal with the second wave. He thanked all the concerned departments and officers/staff for their hard work in these challenging times and expressed the confidence that with their collective collective efforts, Punjab will succeed in containing the pandemic. “Please be safe, get vaccinated & take care of yourselves even as you shoulder the responsibility of keeping others safe,” he appealed to them.

Earlier, participating in the meeting, DC Ludhiana said all the health facilities in the district were prepared to deal with the situation, while DC Jalandhar disclosed that testing in his district had been ramped up to 5000 a day, while contact tracing was at 18.6.

The DC Jalandhar further said that Covid monitors had been put at marriage palaces and CCTV footage was being retained for 45 days. He disclosed that positivity rate in the district had come down among police personnel post vaccination. He said the district administration was making it mandatory for chemists and private practitioners to report people who come for treatment with flu symptoms. He urged the Chief Minister to empower Transport Department to issue challans in case of mask violation.

Pointing to 5% positivity case in the district this month, DC Patiala said more cases were being reported from the Patiala Corporation area. The district administration was increasing sampling to 4000 a day in the next couple of days, he said, adding that the next two weeks were critical.

DCs of Mohali and other districts, also updated the Chief Minister on the situation in their respective districts, as well as the measures being taken to check the spread.

Covid Review – 4

PUNJAB CONGRESS PUTS ALL RALLIES ON HOLD TILL MARCH 31, CAPT AMARINDER URGES OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES TO ADHERE TO NUMBERS

ASKS DC AMRITSAR TO TALK TO SGPC & DURGIANA TEMPLE MANAGEMENT ON WEARING OF MASKS INSIDE SHRINES

TELLS DGP & HEALTH DEPT TO TAKE PEOPLE NOT WEARING MASKS IN PUBLIC TO NEAREST RT-PCR TESTING CENTRE

CHANDIGARH, MARCH 19
Punjab Congress will not hold any political gatherings for the next two weeks in view of the spike in Covid cases in the state.

This was announced by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at a review meeting on the Covid situation.

Captain Amarinder also appealed to other political parties and their leaders to keep their gatherings within the prescribed numbers ie 50% of capacity, subject to maximum of 100 in closed and 200 in open spaces. No political gatherings should take place in the most affected districts, he said.

Underlining the need for strict enforcement, the Chief Minister ordered compulsory enforcement of wearing of Face Masks in the state. He directed the Police and Health authorities to take all those moving around and loitering in public areas, and on the roads and streets, without Face Masks, to the nearest RT-PCR Testing Facility for taking nasopharyngeal swabs to ensure that they are not asymptomatic Covid cases.

He asked DC Amritsar to talk to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) and management of Durgiana temple to encourage devotees to wear masks inside the shrines.

The rise in cases was a matter of serious concern, particularly in rural areas which had seen much fewer cases last year, said the Chief Minister, directing the concerned departments to launch awareness campaigns in villages.

Earlier, Earlier, Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Sidhu said unlike previously, when there were more cases in urban areas, Covid cases were now almost equally divided between urban and rural areas. Both he and School Education Minister OP Soni called for restrictions on political and social gatherings.

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