With the state continuing to report high Covid positivity and CFR, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered extension of all the existing restrictions up to May 31, with directions for strict enforcement of all the curbs.
The Chief Minister said the DCs will continue to determine opening of shops in a staggered manner and enforce other restrictions to check spread of Covid, especially in rural areas. They can also make suitable amendments based on local condition as long as these do not dilute the state’s overall restrictions, said the Chief Minister.
The district authorities shall continue to ensure strict implementation of all the directives of the MHA/state government on Covid appropriate behaviour, including social distancing norms, regulating crowds in market places and public transport, and imposition of penalties prescribed for violation of norms/restrictions.
Reviewing the state’s Covid situation at a high-level meeting, the Chief Minister said while the restrictions so far had shown results, with some decline in day on day positivity and cases coming down from around 9000 to 6000 in this period, there was need to extend the same in view of the high positivity of 13.1% as of the May 9-15 period, with CFR standing at 2.4.
The Chief Minister also directed the district administrations to investigate complaints of fleecing of patients by some private hospitals, warning that these would be shut down if they continue to indulge in such practices. Such cases have to be strictly dealt with, he said, directing the police department to crack down on those found indulging in hoarding or black marketing of any Covid related essentials or medicines.
The Chief Minister also expressed concern over the spread of the new fungal disorder associated with Covid. He stressed the need to increase surveillance for this disease as, if it is not treated early, it can cause severe complications. He also directed the health department to ensure that medicines to treat this disease are available with the state. These should be procured before there is panic for these medicines as well, he said, and asked the department to also re-examine the SOP to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent this disease from occurring. Dr KK Talwar termed the fungal infections as a serious issue, which could be attributed to either high use of steroids or use of undistilled water in Oxygen.
On the availability of Oxygen, the Chief Minister said that while the state, through judicious measures, had been able to prevent any mishap, the situation should be closely monitoring by the health department. The state government had successfully arranged for PSA plants, oxygen concentrators etc which will further help tackle oxygen shortages, he added. The state was expecting over 2500 oxygen concentrators on the ground within this month, he said, directing the department to ensure the best use of the same.
Captain Amarinder further directed the Health and Medical Education departments to continue to ensure that there is no problem at any point with respect to hospital capacity, especially with regard to L-3 beds.
He asked the DCs to ensure that food kits are delivered to those in quarantine, reiterating that nobody should be allowed to go to sleep hungry. He complimented the DGP on the successful launch of the `Bhojan Helpline’.
The situation continues to be grim, leaving no scope for laxity, said the Chief Minister, directing DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure strict compliance of the strictions, with no deviation to be allowed. While appreciating the efforts of various departments in combating the pandemic, he said the battle continues amid apprehensions of more possible waves ahead.