May 31, 2020 9:34:05 am
Indicating community spread of Covid-19 in Punjab, CM Amarinder Singh Saturday announced extension of lockdown in the state for another four weeks till June 30.
“We had 23 new cases on Friday and 19 cases on Saturday which did not have a travel or contact history. These are the dangers of stage three of the virus. We have go be careful and cautious,” he said.
The CM added that lockdown 5.0 will be with more relaxations and the state was waiting for the guidelines from Centre to ease down the lockdown further. “We have allowed most of the activities from 7 am to 7 pm and the 7 pm to 7 am curfew was imposed by Centre. They will announce the guidelines tomorrow and then we will make our announcements.”
The ICMR has already done random sampling from three districts in the state to check if there is a community spread in the state. The report is yet to be made public.
During his address to the state through his social media initiative #AskCaptain, Amarinder said that the doctors were advising him against too many relaxations including opening of hotels, restaurants and malls.
Responding to a question that doctors in Amritsar were having concerns of community spread, Amarinder said, “In Amritsar, we have 7 cases today. Out of these, six cases are contact cases. So what the doctors are telling you is right The community spread of infection takes place in cities and mohallas.”
A senior functionary of the government said the state would issue guidelines about more relaxations in the lockdown on Sunday, “The lockdown will continue for four weeks. We will give more relaxations. The decision on more relaxations will be taken on Sunday evening .”
Before making these announcements, Amarinder had a review meeting on Covid situation with experts and ministers including Balbir Sidhu, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa.
He said the threat from the pandemic was not over yet and said the government would enhance the penalty for those not wearing masks and spitting in public. He asked the people of the state to report to government if they find anyone coming from abroad not quarantining himself, “we have to be careful. I cannot let anything affect the health of Punjabis”.
A government statement said that the Chief Minister sought an update during the meeting on the state government’s plans for launch of home surveillance and Covid Foot Soldiers deployment to track and trace infections. He was informed by Anurag Agarwal, Principal Secretary (Health & Family Welfare), that both would be launched over the next couple of days. ASHA workers and other local women from the community are being hired to undertake home to home surveillance across districts, and they would be paid Rs 2 per head in every household surveyed, he said.
An app for tracing and tracking of symptomatic cases is currently being field-tested and would be launched in 2-3 days. Youngsters would be asked to download the app to voluntarily report on such cases, said Agarwal, adding that mandatory OTP verification of these Covid Foot Soldiers would be ensured to check false reporting.
Violations get state Rs 1 crore
Amarinder said as many as 36,820 people have been fined for not wearing masks and 4,032 persons for spitting in public in just 11 days from May 17 till May 28. As many as 6,061 persons had been fined for not wearing masks in just the last 24 hours, he said. The penalties had earned the state exchequer Rs 1 crore.
The CM said there was no locust threat on Punjab as such as the hoppers had not reached here. All arrangements had been put in place in seven districts bordering Rajasthan and Haryana.
Warning to China
Calling for a diplomatic solution to the Indo-China tension, he warned China of a strong retaliation if the issue was not sorted amicably.
During his FB live, he said: “While we do not want war, but we will not show our back if it comes to that. We will not tolerate any bullying by Beijing. This is not 1962.”
On the attempts by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of Sikhs for Justice outfit to instigate people and foment trouble in Punjab, Amarinder said he will not let Punjab’s hard-earned peace be disturbed at any cost by any foreign elements. “I will not let him create trouble in Punjab. I dare him to come to Punjab and see what I do to him.”
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