With state authorities still struggling to keep people indoors during curfew to combat COVID-19, Punjab Health Department said that they are getting daily reports from villages that show people continue to visit each other’s houses, and congregating in large groups. Medical officers with the state government, meanwhile, have once again reiterated that it is time everyone is treated as a “carrier” and social distancing strictly adhered to.
“This is the time that everyone should treat everyone else as a suspected carrier of the virus and maintain social and physical distance. It is only with this strategy that the chain will be broken and the cases would start decreasing,” said Dr Gurpal Kataria of Civil Hospital, Nwanshahr, the hotbed of coronavirus cases in Punjab.
People violating lockdown in cities, villages
A senior officer in Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department said that the lockdown directive was being violated both in rural as well as urban areas. “We are getting daily reports from various districts, which have not witnessed any corona case, that in villages people are visiting each other’s place as usual and the men are playing cards in groups without wearing a mask or covering their mouth with a handkerchief while sitting in large groups.” He added that in cities people were uses relaxations in lockdown to gather in groups.
In some areas in the name of the sanitising of the village, villagers are moving in big groups, said a civil surgeon.
“If the people have been ordered to stay indoors then they must confine themselves within their homes for this period so that in case there are any symptomatic cases, the symptoms would come within this period only and the risk of transmission to others outside these affected and families will be avoided and checked and taken for treatment then and there,” said Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Balachuar, Dr Ravinder Thakur.
SMO, Nawanshahr, Dr Hawinder Singh, pointed out:“If the first coronavirus casualty in Punjab , a 70-year-old from Pathlava village in Nawanshahr, was put in quarantine after his return from Germany via Italy, the damage would have been very little and restricted to maybe a few of his family members. If a single man’s unrestricted movement can infect 28 people in just 10 days then one can imagine that how these 28 people could have infected several others if the villages where they stay were not sealed immediately after reporting of the first case on March 18.”
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