With the state witnessing a surge in Covid cases, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a total ban on political gatherings till April 30. The violators, including political leaders, will be booked under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Act, the state government said.
The chief minister has also announced the extension of night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am from earlier imposed 12 districts to the entire state. Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta has been directed to ensure strict implementation of the night curfew.
The state government has also imposed restrictions of 50 people in funerals, cremations or weddings organised indoors. In the case of similar gatherings organised outdoors, the number of people allowed to attend is 100.
Moreover, no social, cultural or sports related gatherings will be allowed till April 30 in the state. The cinema halls have been directed to operate at 50 percent capacity. In addition, the schools and educational institutions, except medical and nursing colleges, have been ordered to stay closed until April 30.
Wearing masks for all government employees while in office has been made mandatory. In all government offices, in-person public dealing shall be restricted and virtual modes for grievance redressal shall be encouraged.
However, there is some respite for shop owners in malls as the government has given permission on entry of 10 people per shop at any given time, as against the earlier order which allowed not more than 100 people in a mall at one time.
CM Amarinder Singh, during his weekly review of Covid situation, expressed concern about the high positivity and mortality rates in the state. He said that over 85 per cent of cases in Punjab are of the UK strain, which is more contagious and virulent. Because of which the administration had no option but to go in for stricter measures to further contain the ongoing surge.
Currently, 90, 000 people are being vaccinated in the state per day. In view of the rising number of daily cases, CM Amarinder Singh has directed health authorities to increase the number of people being vaccinated to 2 lakh tests per day. The chief minister has also asked the officials to increase the sampling to 50,000 per day.
So far, Punjab has recorded over 2.5 lakh Covid-19 cases. The total number of deaths stands at 7, 216, while 2,24,000 have recovered from the deadly infection.