A day after shutting down all educational institutions till March 31, the Punjab government Saturday ordered closure of cinema halls, swimming pools, taverns, and gyms till the end of this month amid coronavirus scare and said it will take a call, “within a day if required” on closing the shopping malls
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the government has also banned the holding of sports events, cultural meets, fairs, exhibitions and conferences till further orders. The prohibitory orders come into effect from Saturday midnight.
The minister said the shopping malls were not being shut for now. “We will take a call. The public cannot be inconvenienced as the situation is under control in state. We will take a decision by Sunday if required,” he said.
Sidhu said the department was also considering to retain the doctors, who were retiring on March 31 following the implementation of new rule of reducing the retirement age from 60 to 58. He said about 25 doctors and deputy directors were set to retire, but the government has decided to grant them an extension.
Sidhu said there was no need to panic as till date only one person has tested positive for coronavirus in Punjab. Ninety-five other suspects have tested negative.
Allaying fears that a family from Ludhiana with a travel history of affected countries had gone incommunicado, Sidhu said no suspected case of coronavirus is missing or absconding. These passengers were screened at Delhi Airport and were asymptomatic. The addresses and details of these passengers were not complete as per the information received from Government of India, so the information about the said passengers was shared with district administration in order to keep them under surveillance. None of the said persons is a suspected case of coronavirus, he added.
The minister further said the Centre has shared lists of 6,850 passengers with Punjab. All these passengers have been screened at Delhi and different airports and have been found asymptomatic. Punjab government has already contacted 6,058 passengers and surveillance of all passengers is being done. The contact details of 335 passengers are incomplete and lists have been shared with district administration to contact them to know about their health status.
“It is very irresponsible and incorrect to say or suggest that these are suspected cases of Covid-19,” he said.
He added that Centre is sharing daily with states the lists of passengers of travel from different foreign countries. The passengers are screened at port of entry at Delhi or other airports. As a matter of precaution and to ensure surveillance of each and every passenger, representatives of the state government are visiting and calling every passenger daily for a surveillance period of 14 days from the day of arrival.
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