With deaths in Punjab rising to 7.7 per million and over 1,000 new cases reported in last one week, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday directed the DGP to create special Covid reserves by withdrawing police personnel deployed on non-essential duties for the next few months.
The CM directed utilisation of police personnel deployed for non-essential jobs for Covid duties to tighten the noose against violators, especially those not wearing masks. Also, a number of police personnel have also tested positive. A total of 125 active cases of Covid are currently present in the police force, with 161 of their family members also testing positive, DGP Dinkar Gupta told the review meeting on Covid chaired by the CM.
The CM directed the DGP to take action against those found not wearing masks. He told the DGP to instruct the SSPs of cities with large caseloads to strictly enforce all curbs and norms to check further spread of the disease.
He directed the health department to identify containment and micro-containment zones more quickly and clamp down on them with speed to check the spread of the pandemic. The state currently has 38 micro-containment zones in 12 districts and seven containment zones in six districts.
Amarinder also called for immediate action to increase testing as per the targets already decided by the state government. Underlining the need for extreme caution, even though the state’s figures were still better than the national average, he asked district administration to strictly enforce all the latest guidelines, especially with respect to restriction of five persons in gatherings.
Seeking the support of the people to win the fight, the CM said district administrations and the health department should work actively with local leaders to drive a community-led effort to check the spread of Covid. He pointed out that in Amritsar, the work done by the district administration, police, Govt Medical College Community Medicine Department, Health Department and other experts was showing good results. He also lauded the work done by private institutions such as DMC Ludhiana, which had tied up with Ram Shriram Society to arrange more beds for Level 1 patients, with DC Ludhiana and CP Ludhiana playing a key role in facilitating the partnerships.
The DGP earlier said action was being taken against all violators by the police, who were also keeping a close check on the incoming travellers. Around 40% of the entrants were daily travellers, he said, adding that tabs were being kept on all, with follow-up action.
Earlier, Dr K K Talwar, who heads the expert committee advising the state government for tele-monitoring of home isolation/ home quarantine cases, said tenders have been floated by PHSC and bids have to be submitted by Friday. Further, 17 ALS Ambulances have been ordered by PHSC and five are expected to be delivered by the end of this week, he said in the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the committee.
As a follow-up of the CM’s approval for setting up plasma banks in the state, Dr Talwar said Dr Neelam Marwaha, former head of Blood Bank & Transfusion Medicine PGIMER, Chandigarh, has been engaged to look after these banks. He said that after discussion with ADGP Prisons, it has been decided to keep COVID positive prisoners for 17 days in isolation facilities.
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