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Coronavirus: Punjab to ban public transport from March 21

The decision to halt all public transport includes state- run and private buses and autorickshaws from 00:00 hours Saturday.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Updated: March 20, 2020 10:20:58 am
coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus punjab, punjab public transport ban, indian express The government has also decided to postpone school examinations on the lines of CBSE. The new schedule would be notified later.

As Punjab recorded its first death of a coronavirus infected patient, the state government Thursday announced a decision to suspend public transport services from Saturday.

The decision to halt all public transport includes state- run and private buses and autorickshaws from 00:00 hours Saturday.

It has also decided to shut down hotels, restaurants and banquet halls till further orders. The leave of SSPs, DCs, Commissioners and other senior officers of the districts has also been cancelled. They have also been asked to stay put in their place of posting.

The government has also decided to postpone school examinations on the lines of CBSE. The new schedule would be notified later.

Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra said the step was being taken to discourage people from travelling and spreading the virus. He said the orders would come into effect from Saturday. “This was being done to allow people time to reach their homes and destinations. Had we done it tomorrow, some people could have been stranded. Now they have been given 48 hours to react to the ban.”

The minister said the situation was alarming in the country and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wanted that the virus does not spread in the state.

Hence, extreme steps have been taken. Mohindra is the chairman of the Group of Ministers, set up in Punjab to check spread of the virus. A meeting was held Thursday to review the arrangements in place to combat the spread.

“The 23-year-old girl who tested positive for COVID-19 in Chandigarh on Wednesday midnight has a showroom in Mohali. This is a serious case,” he said without divulging any more details.

PUNJAB TO STAMP THOSE TO BE QUARANTINED

Mohindra said Punjab will also follow the Maharashtra way to stamp those directed to home quarantine themselves. “We are taking these stringent steps to make sure these people do not roam about freely,” he said.

Punjab has already shut down schools, coaching centres, gyms, malls, shopping centres, taverns and banned the congregation of more than 50.

Mohindra said while banquet halls and restaurants were shut, the home delivery of food would be allowed.

In Thursday’s meeting, the government decided to restrict the assembly of people to not more than 20, Mohindra said.

GOVERNMENT TO MINISMISE PUBLIC CONTACT

The government has decided to minimise public contact in government offices. An advisory will be issued to ensure that the employees maintain a distance of at least one metre, and the meetings will be cancelled. The ministers have been advised to maintain a safe distance.

ISOLATION WARDS

The GoM decided to increase the number of isolation wards set at different public private hospitals and medical institutions and to strengthen the services by ensuring availability of medical and para medical staff and adequate stock of medicines. Similarly routine OPD services in the hospitals have also been postponed but emergency services at all the hospitals and PHCs will be continued 24X7.

DENTAL COLLEGES SHUT

It was also decided to close all the dental colleges and hospitals with immediate effect till March 31. The classes of first and second year students in medical colleges have been postponed while the classes of third and fourth years would be continued. The classes of first year students in nursing colleges have been called off till March 31, but the classes of nursing students from second year onward would continue. In case any eventuality, the students of medical colleges in third and fourth year are being given first-hand training sessions to tackle with COVID-19 patients.

EXAMS POSTPONED

Close on the heels of notification issued by the CBSE, has decided to postpone all the Board examinations of 10th and 12th standard till March 31.

GoM has also decided to strictly implement the home quarantine protocol for all the NRIs, passengers who came from any country in last 15 days to remain in isolation at their homes upto 14 days. It has also been decided to do mandatory stamping with indelible ink of all such NRIs and passengers in a bid to identify them in case they go out.

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