May 17, 2021 1:08:16 am
With the state continuing to report high Covid positivity and CFR, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered extension of all existing restrictions up to May 31, with directions for strict enforcement of all the curbs.
The CM said that DCs will continue to determine the opening of shops in a staggered manner and enforce other restrictions to check the spread of Covid, especially in rural areas. They can also make suitable amendments based on local condition as long as these do not dilute the state’s overall restrictions, the CM said.
Reviewing the Covid situation at a high-level meeting, the CM said while the restrictions so far had shown results, with some decline in day on day positivity and cases coming down from around 9,000 to 6,000, there was need to extend the same in view of the high positivity of 13.1% as of May 9-15 period, with CFR standing at 2.4.
The CM also directed the district administrations to investigate complaints of fleecing of patients by some private hospitals, warning that these would be shut down if they continue to indulge in such practices. Such cases have to be strictly dealt with, he said, directing the police department to crack down on those found indulging in hoarding or black marketing of any Covid related essentials or medicines.
The CM also expressed concern over the spread of the new fungal disorder associated with Covid. He stressed the need to increase surveillance for this disease as, if it is not treated early, it can cause severe complications. He also directed the health department to ensure that medicines to treat this disease are available with the state. These should be procured before there is panic for these medicines as well, he said, and asked the department to also re-examine the SOP to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent this disease from occurring.
Dr KK Talwar termed the fungal infections as a serious issue, which could be attributed to either high use of steroids or use of undistilled water in Oxygen.
He asked the DCs to ensure that food kits are delivered to those in quarantine, reiterating that nobody should sleep hungry. He complimented the DGP on the successful launch of the ‘Bhojan Helpline’.
The situation continues to be grim, leaving no scope for laxity, said the CM, directing DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure strict compliance of the restrictions, with no deviation to be allowed. While appreciating the efforts of various departments in combating the pandemic, he said the battle continues amid apprehensions of more possible waves ahead.
Stressing the need to avoid the kind of situation that was prevailing in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, Amarinder announced a unique Covid Fateh programme as part of a ‘Corona Mukt Pindu Abhiyaan’ to tackle the worrying spread of Covid in the rural areas.
Terming it a war that needed the involvement of all sections of the community, the Chief Minister directed the Health and Rural Development Departments to spearhead the campaign with large-scale mobilisation of the community in the villages.
Terming the casual attitude of the people towards symptoms like cold and cough, which they do not report timely, as the biggest issue, Amarinder called for early identification of the infected people to ensure their early treatment.
Amid the continued shortage of Covid vaccine, Amarinder directed the Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to explore the possibility of procurement of Sputnik V for the immunization of 18-44 age group.
He said the one lakh doses received initially for the category had almost been completely utilized. He asked Chief Secretary to look into Sputnik V as an alternative vaccine for this age group, in which currently the state government is inoculating families of healthcare workers, co-morbid persons and construction labour. In the next stage, other categories, especially teachers, should be vaccinate to enable reopening of the schools at the earliest, he added.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the CM that there was no shortage of Fateh Kits as the department currently has a stock of 24,000 with another 15,000 to be ready by Monday. Certain districts were probably delaying picking up the kits, he added.
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