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Tuesday, April 16 2024

Punjab extends statewide curbs till June 15, gives some relaxations

Punjab Extends Statewide Curbs Till June
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Chandigarh: Adopting a graded approach to reopening, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered extension of Covid-19 statewide restrictions to June 15 with certain relaxations, including allowing opening of shops till 6 p.m. and private offices functioning at 50 per cent strength.

However, night curfew will remain in force from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays, including Saturdays, and a regular daylong weekend curfew on Sundays, he announced.

With case positivity declining to 3.2 per cent and active cases also coming down, the Chief Minister allowed gatherings up to 20 people, including weddings and cremations. Entry restrictions (negative Covid test or vaccination) for arrivals in the state have also been done away with.

Recruitment exams will be allowed to be held subject to adherence to social distancing and other appropriate norms, though the online mode should be preferred.

Sports training for national and international events has also been permitted and the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs has been asked to issue the necessary instructions and guidelines, which have to be strictly adhered to.

Reviewing the Covid situation virtually, with ministers, senior police and administrative officials, and health experts, the Chief Minister said district administration may determine opening of non-essential shops, including on weekends, on the basis of local situation, while ensuring that crowding, leading to spread of Covid, is avoided.

On government offices, he said that attendance can be decided by the head of the office but co-morbid or disabled employees at risk may be exempted.

Further relaxations will be allowed in the coming weeks depending on the outcomes, if the cases continue to decline, said Amarinder Singh, adding that gyms and restaurants could be opened after a week with 50 per cent, and other conditions as per expert advice, if the situation improves further.

Owners and workers of gyms and restaurants should get themselves vaccinated prior to the reopening, he added.

Asserting that Punjab could not afford to let its guard down despite the decline in case load and increasing in testing, the Chief Minister said the virus mutations were a matter of concern, even though the case fatality rate (CFR) was lower than the first wave.

Referring to the spread of black fungus, he said there are currently 381 cases in the state, of which 38 have already been cured and 265 are undergoing treatment.

There is an adequate supply of drugs for treatment, he assured the people, adding that his government would continue to augment the supplies and ensure that there is no shortage of any essential drug in the state.

For better management of cases, the Chief Minister asked the departments to reduce testing time.

Post-Covid complications should be studied carefully for better preparation to handle those, he said, citing the example of ‘Flying Sikh’ and legendary athlete Milkha Singh, who was discharged after Covid recovery but had to be again hospitalised.

He said he had been informed that 20 per cent of patients in hospitals in Patiala are similar cases of recovered patients being readmitted.

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