June 30, 2021 6:09:34 am
The detection of Delta Plus variant of the infection in state is a matter of concern, making it essential to continue with the curbs, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Tuesday said as his government extended the Covid restrictions till July 10 but allowed reopening of bars, pubs and ahatas (taverns) with 50 per cent capacity from July 1. Skill development centres and universities have also been allowed to open.
Announcing the measures during a review meeting, the CM said owners will have to ensure that their staff members take at least one dose of Covid vaccine and the social distancing guidelines are followed.
Expressing satisfaction over the decline in overall positivity rate to below one per cent, the CM noted that in some districts, it was still over 1 per cent.
The month wise whole genome sequencing has shown that more than 90 per cent (samples) were a variant of concern,. In May and June, the Delta variant was most prevalent, he said, adding the Delta Plus variant was detected in two cases (Ludhiana and Patiala).
Of the 198 contacts of the Ludhiana patient traced and tested, one was found positive and the sample has been sent for genome sequencing, while in the Patiala case, for which the genome sequencing report was received on June 26, the process of tracing/testing is going on, he said.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said genome sequencing of 489 samples, including 276 sent in April, 100 in May and 113 in June, is still pending with the central lab. She clarified that the Delta Plus variant was found in samples sent by the state government in May, whose results were given by central labs recently.
The CM ordered fast tracking of the establishment of a genome sequencing lab at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Patiala, in association with the international non-profit organisation PATH and make it operational by July. He also ordered intensification of genome sequencing of cases reported from clusters in limited geographical, institutional or superspreader event area.
Amarinder also asked the department concerned to give appointment and postings, at the earliest, to the 128 specialist doctors recently selected by the Dr KK Talwar committee.
Medical Education and Research Minister OP Soni said 80 per cent of the preparations needed to tackle a possible third wave are already complete at government medical colleges of the state.
Dr Talwar said it was very difficult to predict the third wave and urged extreme caution, As of now, the existing vaccines were showing effectiveness against the present variants, he said.
Meanwhile, the CM appreciated and thanked all the doctors and other medical professionals for the “excellent job they are doing in helping the state fight the pandemic”.
“The relentless and self-sacrificing work being done by the professionals, at great risk to their own lives, was an inspiration for one and all, said the CM. “We will not forget your contribution in saving lives,” the CM said.
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