Chandigarh, Feb 23 (IANS) Amid growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered restriction on indoor gathering to 100 and outdoor to 200 persons from March 1, along with strict enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing, with testing to be ramped to 30,000 a day.
Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the situation, he also authorised the Deputy Commissioners to impose night curfew in hotspots in their districts if needed, with micro containment strategy to be adopted.
He directed the police to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of masks, along with notification of Covid-19 monitors by all restaurants, marriage palaces, with the Department of Excise and Taxation to be the nodal agency in this regard.
The Chief Minister said a decision on reducing occupancy in cinema halls will be taken after March 1. Private offices and restaurants will be encouraged to display last tests done for all employees, he added.
Directing increased testing, Amarinder Singh ordered mandatory testing of 15 contacts per positive, with review to be undertaken by the Health Department.
The Chief Minister also took stock of the vaccination status, underlining the need to carry out an IEC campaign to promote 100 per cent coverage of healthcare and frontline workers.
He directed the Health Department to plan for a strategise roll-out of vaccine for the elderly population and those with comorbidities.
Expressing concern over the 3.23 case fatality ratio, Amarinder Singh took note of the mortality audit findings that many of the deaths are happening within 2-14 days of hospitalisation.
He underscored the need for continued supervision of protocols for managing patients with comorbidities, especially in private facilities. Citing cases of some deaths at home, he further directed the Health Department to ensure proper monitoring of home isolation cases, especially those with comorbidities.
Apprising the Chief Minister of measures taken by Punjab Police to enforce adherence to safety protocols, DGP Dinkar Gupta said instructions have been issued to field officers to strictly impose restrictions.
Earlier, in a brief presentation, Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the meeting that the districts of Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, SAS Nagar and SBS Nagar had shown a spike in positivity in recent days, triggering concerns over a possible fresh wave in the state.
On the vaccination front, he said there had so far been 61 cases of minor adverse events following immunisation, while six severe and 14 serious cases had been reported. All had since recovered, he added.
K.K. Talwar, who is heading the state government’s expert group on Covid-19, said a detailed analysis was being done on the recent spike in positivity rate, which suggested an increase in cases among young people.
At the current rate, the positivity could go up to four per cent in two weeks, translating into 800 cases per day, he said, stressing the need for urgent preventive steps.