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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Capt not keen on complete lockdown in Punjab so far

Captain Amarinder Singh said he had so far refrained from ordering a sweeping lockdown in the state because it will hurt the poor the most and would lead to an exodus of migrant labourers, plunging industries into chaos again.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
May 4, 2021 9:27:19 am
Patiala, Lockdown, COVID-19Shops are closed during the lockdown imposed by the Punjab Government due to the surge in COVID Cases at Books market in Patiala on Monday. Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi

Hours after Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that a complete lockdown in the state was the need of the hour to check the spike in Covid-19 case numbers, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ruled out a complete lockdown for now and warned the people against laxity in following Covid protocols.

Calling for a complete lockdown, Health Minister Sidhu said the situation in Punjab was grim, with only 300 beds available at the L-3 level in the state. Hospitals were getting overwhelmed, he added.

In response, the Chief Minister said he had so far refrained from ordering a sweeping lockdown in the state because it will hurt the poor the most and would lead to an exodus of migrant labourers, plunging industries into chaos again. However, if the people do not stringently comply with the restrictions in place, harsher steps might have to be taken, he said.

Amarinder said if the situation in Punjab did not improve soon, he would be forced to consider a total lockdown.

The state is currently under a partial lockdown. DGP Dinkar Gupta has said that all measures are being taken to strictly enforce the current curbs.

Take-away deliveries stopped

Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the state, Amarinder on Monday ordered a stop on all take-away deliveries from restaurants, a service which he said was being used by youngsters as a pretext to move out of their homes. Only home deliveries of food should be allowed, he directed the officials.

20% increase in bed capacity ordered

Underlining the need to step up preparedness amid projections of a peak in the coming days, the Chief Minister ordered a 20 per cent increase in the bed capacity over the next 10 days. He directed the Health and Medical Education Departments to get stadiums, gymnasiums and other such places ready to house patients.

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