May 7, 2021 8:08:33 pm
As the Covid-19 case graph in the state continued its steady upward climb, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday authorised the Deputy Commissioners of districts to impose new and stricter restrictions at their discretion to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
The CM, however, made it clear that no dilution of existing curbs would be allowed — except for allowing the opening of non-essential shops and private offices on a rotational basis.
Captain Amarinder also directed the DGP to strictly enforce the weekend lockdown in the state, besides asking him to crack down on any violators of norms in during the Kisan Sangharsh Morcha’s anti-lockdown agitation on Saturday.
Asserting that the Kisan Morcha, an amalgamation of 32 kisan unions, cannot dictate terms to the state government, Captain Amarinder warned of strict action if anyone is found flouting curfew norms. He said that if any shops are opened in violation of guidelines, then the owners may open themselves up for prosecution.
Chairing a high-level Covid review meeting virtually on Friday, the Chief Minister said that the DCs were authorised to take any decision on the opening of non-essential shops or private offices on a rotational basis, after taking the local MLAs and other stakeholders into confidence. However, the DCs cannot impose any restrictions on inter-district movement, he said.
The new curbs, if any, and the opening of shops on rotational basis will come into effect from Monday, he said.
Responding to DGP Dinkar Gupta’s remarks that various districts wanted to adopt different models for phased opening of shops, the Chief Minister said the decision on working out the local systems ultimately rested with the DCs.
Taking serious note of the spike in cases in the Malwa region, the Chief Ministers asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to examine the possibility of re-employing volunteers deployed last year and also to get Rapid Antigen Tests done on all residents in villages. He stressed the need to control the Case Fatality Rate, which stood at 2.1 per cent as on May 6.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal, while briefing the meeting, informed that the positivity rate in the state had gone up to 13.5% on Thursday, when the state reportedly had nearly 9000 Covid cases.
Besides an increase in Level 3 beds, Lal said, the Health Department had increased procurement of Remdesivir 100 mg and other essential drugs. The department was expecting 60000 oximeters by Friday and the same would be distributed to Covid patients as part of Fateh Kits, he said.
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