We are already in Unlock 2.0. We cannot tell people to sit at home always, it can cause mental disorders as well. People have to come out of their houses and work to make their living. However, they need to follow precautions, said Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday.
Sidhu was at Rabbon Uchi village in Ludhiana to attend the martyrdom day function of Baba Mahraj Singh, a freedom fighter. A state-level function was organised by the Punjab government.
“Day-to-day works have to be done. We just can’t sit back at our houses for months together. We all need to learn to live with corona following all guidelines,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the minister said, “We are capable of handling up to 28,000 patients in isolation and up to 1 lakh people in quarantine. As of now, Punjab is fully in control and our health staff is capable of handling additional rush. As we have stepped up testing, more patients are being reported.”
However, the minister admitted that the government was lagging in tertiary care and was dependent on only three government medical colleges and few private facilities in the state. He said, “We have made a plan worth Rs 700 crore to upgrade our district hospitals for tertiary care. Under this, we want ICUs to be set up in all civil hospitals, we want more ventilators and more staff. Already the Cabinet has given nod to recruit 4,000 health workers on regular posts under which 500 will be specialists, and 323 medical officers. Apart from this, recruitment of nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and ward attendants is also on the cards. Not only this, health staff on daily wages is also being recruited for Covid period on a temporary basis.“
Sidhu said that citizens do not have to visit private hospitals or labs for their testing as more than 10,000 tests are being done daily by the government hospitals in Punjab. While replying to a question related to an Amritsar-based lab giving wrong reports, he said that the licence of that lab has been cancelled.
The minister also announced the opening of a Health & Wellness Centre in the memory of Baba Maharaj Singh at Rabbon Uchi village within a month. He said that out of 2,900 such centres planned in the state, 1,900 have been constructed and the remaining would be started soon. On the rising mortality rate, he said that it was happening among elderly people with comorbidities.
He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister Discretionary Fund for the development of village and for installing a statue of Baba Maharaj Singh.
Prominent among those present were Payal MLA Lakhvir Singh Lakha welcomed the minister and apprised him of the development-related demands of the constituency. Fatehgarh Sahib MP Dr Amar Singh, Samrala MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon, Khanna MLA Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Bassi Pathana MLA Gurpreet Singh GP, former minister Malkit Singh Dakha, Zila Parishad chairman Yadwinder Singh Jandiali, Khanna SSP Harpreet Singh, Payal SDM Mankanwal Singh Chahal, and Political Secretary to the minister Harkesh Chand Sharma.
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