After eight pilgrims, who had returned from Hazur Sahib gurdwara in Nanded, tested positive in Tarn Taran and Kapurthala on Monday, Punjab government has decided to test and put in government quarantine all those who have recently returned from other states.
Among 3,700 stranded pilgrims in Nanded, about 2,900 labourers and students from Rajasthan, several have started entering Punjab in the last few days. The government Monday ordered all district administrations to test and quarantine all these returnees. The government has also asked the administrations to look for hotels, satsang bhawans and institutions for quarantining them.
Earlier, the government had decided to home quarantine all these people. But with the latest development, the decision has been changed.
Since all these returnees will require 7,000 testing kits, the government has decided to do pool testing on these people. A pool of five persons would be formed and tested. “This turns out to be 1500 kits. We now have a capacity of testing about 800-900 people every day. All these returnees will be done in two days,” a senior state government functionary said.
But before the testing is done, they will be in government quarantine. “We have enough space for quarantining. We have schools, Radha Soami Deras and other places. All these people would be taken care of,” the official said.
Those who will test positive would be shifted to isolation centres, those testing negative would be home quarantined.
This is for the first time that the state has to handle the COVID-19 crisis of such magnitude. Earlier, it had done 26 cases at the most on a given day.
Meanwhile, Punjab government has contacted the Delhi government to facilitate safe evacuation of 250 Sikh pilgrims stuck at the Majnu Ka Tila gurdwara in the national capital due to the lockdown.
As many as 2,900 labourers from Punjab are returning to the state in 60 Punjab government buses from Jaisalmer, where they were stranded in five relief camps. They are expected to reach Punjab Tuesday morning via the Ganganagar entry point to the state.
Further, as many as 500 pilgrims reached Bathinda this evening in 14 Punjab government buses from Nanded and were on their way to their respective home towns/cities/villages.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines