Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced extension of the restrictions in the state till June 10, but ordered the limit on the number of passengers in personal vehicles to be removed, in view of decline in the positivity and number of active Covid cases.
The chief minister has also directed the resumption of elective surgeries in both government and private hospitals, as well restoration of OPD operations at all GMCHs in the state, in view of the improvement in the overall Covid situation.
It may be recalled that elective surgeries had been stopped from April 12 to ensure adequate availability of beds and oxygen for serious Covid cases, but the chief minister has now allowed these to be resumed, subject to the condition that there shall, for the present, be no reduction in beds for L3 patients in the hospital.
On the issue of restrictions, the chief minister said it had been decided to continue with the curbs on the advice of experts.
He clarified that while the limit on personal cars and two-wheelers was being removed as these are used mainly by family members and close friends, those on commercial passenger vehicles and taxis shall continue to be in place at present.
The DCs will also continue to be empowered to make any adjustments in opening of non-essential shops as are merited by local conditions, he said.
He asked them to invest also in augmenting paediatric care and to seek 500 paediatric ventilators from the government of India.
The meeting was informed all the 809 ventilators received earlier under the PM Cares Fund had been distributed and 136 of them were not working.
The chief minister also ordered creation of more technical and specialists posts to meet the demands of the possible third wave.
Dr Raj Bahadur informed the meeting that the recruitment of doctors and nurses had been almost completed, while the process for procurement of equipment for the makeshift hospitals had also started.
All mid-level IAS/PCS transfers in all departments should be put on hold till the Covid crisis continues, directed the chief minister.
Taking strong note of overcharging by some private hospitals, the chief minister warned that profiteering and fleecing of patients amid such a crisis will not be allowed at any cost.
He directed the health and medical education departments to ensure that hospitals display huge (11’x5’) boards at the entrance displaying rates.
Reviewing the Covid situation with top health experts and officials, as well as police and administrative officers, Capt Amarinder directed close and continuous monitoring of high-risk individuals and pregnant women in home isolation through special teams.
Given the comfortable oxygen situation in the state currently, the chief minister also directed that oxygen may now be allowed to be used for essential non-medical purposes, with a three-day buffer stock of medical oxygen, however, to be maintained at all times.
He noted with satisfaction that oxygen concentrator banks were now present in every district for post Covid care patients who have a doctor’s prescription. The control room had ensured that there was no shortage of oxygen in any hospital, he said, adding that the demand in the state had come down from 304 MT to 236 MT in the last 10 days.