Punjab Government takes strict measures to check spread of covid-19

Group of Ministers puts a ban on plying of all public transport in the state from midnight on March 20

Punjab Government takes strict measures to check spread of covid-19
A symbolic photograph.

Chandigarh: Taking serious note of the COVID-19 which is spreading its wings in the country, the Group of Ministers GoM today decided to take stringent action to prevent the public to move out of their houses without any emergency. The GoM which today met under the chairmanship of Mr. Brahm Mohindra, Local Bodies Minister decided to put a ban on plying of all public transport (Government and Private Buses) from midnight on March 20. Likewise all the Board examinations of 10th and 12th standard have also been postponed till March 31. All the public dealings in the government offices have been called off with immediate effect.
Disclosing this Mr. Brahm Mohindra said that GoM today held its meeting to review the emergent situation in view of rise of suspected cases in the state. He said that GoM decided in unison that it is time to take concrete and bold steps and the time to issue only advisories for the people has passed. The GoM decided that there is urgent need to prevent people to come out of their houses without any emergency. For this end, the GoM has decided to stop the operation of all the public transport (Government and Private Buses) from midnight on March 20 but the taxis and rickshaws have been exempted from the ban.
Another important decision taken by the GoM is to increase the number of isolation wards set at different Public, Private hospitals and Medical institutions and to strengthen the services by ensuring availability of medical and para medical staff and adequate stock of medicines. Similarly routine OPD services in the hospitals have also been postponed but emergency services at all the hospitals and PHCs will be continued 24X7. The GoM has also decided to close all the dental colleges and hospitals with immediate effect till March 31. The classes of 1st and 2nd year students in Medical Colleges have been postponed while the classes of 3rd and 4th years would be continued.
 Likewise the classes of 1st year students in nursing colleges have been called off till March 31 but the classes of nursing students from 2nd year onward would be continued. In case any eventuality the students of Medical Colleges in 3rd and 4th year are being given first hand training sessions to tackle with COVID-19 patients. The Minister said that GoM has also decided to restrict the gathering for any function like marriages and funerals upto 20 persons. Organizers of such functions have been advised to adhere to Hand Washing Protocol and proper cleanliness.
GoM close on the heels of notification issued by the CBSE, has decided to postpone all the Board examinations of 10th and 12th standard postponed till March 31.
GoM has also decided to strictly implement the Home Quarantine protocol for all the NRIs, Passengers who came from any country in last 15 days to remain in isolation at their homes upto 14 days. It has also been decided to do mandatory stamping with indelible ink of all such NRIs and passengers in a bid to identify them in case they go out. GoM has also generated appeal for all the citizen of the state to keep a check on the movement of any NRIs and passengers came from other countries and immediately inform the authority for keeping them under the observation for the safety of the public.
All the Deputy Commissioners, SSPs, CMOs, SMOs have been directed not to leave the station.
Mr. Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, , Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu, Mr. Vijay Inder Singla and Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu all the cabinet ministers were present alongwith Mr. Karan Avtar Singh, Chief Secretary, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Local Government, Mr. Tejvir Singh, Principal Secretary Chief Minister Punjab, Mr. Anurag Aggarwal, Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare, Mr. K. Siva Prasad, Principal Secretary Transport, Mr. D.K Tiwari, Principal Secretary Medical Education and Research, Mr. Krishan Kumar, Secretary School Education, Mr. Manvesh Singh Sidhu, MD PHSC, Mrs. Aninditta Mitra, Director, Information and Public Relations, Mr. Kumar Rahul, Secretary Health, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Director Local Bodies Department and Dr. Avneet Kaur Director Health & Family Welfare.

: Warning of a worsening COVID-19 crisis in the country, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amainder Singh on Thursday urged the Government of India to allow private hospitals and labs to conduct tests in order to ensure access to all the people, even as the state reported its first case of Corona death.
Calling for a national level fight against the pandemic on a war footing, Captain Amarinder said he will take up the issue of testing by private hospitals/labs with the Prime Minister on Friday during the latter’s proposed Video Conference with all the Chief Ministers.
With the number of Coronavirus cases increasing, the Centre has to consider reviewing its policy, stressed the Chief Minister, making it clear that he did not agree with the current policy of the Government of India in this regard.
Given the fact that Punjab had private labs in all the major cities, it was not logical for a Corona suspect to have to travel to Chandigarh or some other place to get himself tested from a government facility only, said Captain Amarinder, adding that only in case of doubt should such a person be required to go elsewhere for a second test. The Chief Minister was speaking at a summit conclave to mark the third anniversary of his government.
While he was not a pessimist, the way things were going around the world, it was obvious that India had to be prepared for the worst, said Captain Amarinder. The nature of disease was such, he pointed out, adding that Coronavirus had just entered India and the problem was likely to escalate, in line with the graph followed by other countries. “We have to be prepared in every way,” he asserted.
The Chief Minister also suggested that the Centre should allow the food stocks currently stored in Punjab godowns to be distributed to the poor whose earnings were impacted due to the Coronavirus outbreak instead of letting them rot in the storage areas. Since the stocks belonged to the Government of India, it was in their purview to take a decision in this regard, he said, adding that the 20 million tonnes of food grains that Food Corporation of India (FCI) had yet to lift from the godowns could be put to better use by feeding the people not just in Punjab but wherever needed. Such a move would be a life saver for the people of India in the current crisis, he added.
The suggestion came even as Punjab reported the death of a 70-year-old man who had arrived from Germany via Italy at Delhi airport on March 7, and proceeded to the state the same day. He was a known case of diabetes and hypertension, and was confirmed as COVID positive on Wednesday.
Underlining the need for strong measures to check further spread of the COVID-19 disease, the Chief Minister said his government had already initiated a series of steps to fight the problem. The state’s financial crunch would not be allowed to impact the efforts of his government, said Captain Amarinder, adding that all necessary funds would be made available to ensure adequate testing, isolation and treatment facilities.
On the issue of congregations at gurdwaras and other religious places, the Chief Minister said he had already requested the religious heads to limit the gatherings to under 50 and to appeal to the devotees from their podiums not to gather in large numbers. He was hopeful that the religious heads would support the move, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the government was not harassing people but was trying to save lives.
With respect to the problem of pollution, which is found to aggravate the Corona disease, the Chief Minister said his government was doing its best to manage stubble burning but the Centre had to step in with support. He had already taken up with the central government the demand for Rs 100 per quintal more for famers to manage the paddy straw but had not received a positive response so far, he added.
Captain Amarinder urged the central government to help out by first lifting the surplus stocks and then giving the additional Rs. 100 per quintal for stubble management to resolve the problem, especially with respect to small farmers who could not afford to handle it otherwise. The small farmers were already reeling under debts, which his government was helping out through debt waiver, and the growing shortage of water, he added, asserting that Punjab simply could not afford to give its precious water resource to other states. At the time of Haryana’s formation, Punjab got 60% share of all resources except water, he pointed out, adding that this had left the farmers here in a pathetic situation.

: Amid the preparedness regarding Covid-19 outbreak, Punjab Government, on Thursday, postponed school examinations and announced to relieve the staff of all schools till March 31. Divulging details, School Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla said that to avert the threat of virus contamination, Punjab government has decided to restrict the activities of all government, semi-government and private schools in the state. “Apart from postponing the examinations, the school staff has also been relieved with immediate effect”, he added.
The cabinet minister said that to curb the contamination of Covid-19, the state government has been working tirelessly as Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has also been personally reviewing the situation control the threat of the virus spread. He added that the education department has also decided to voluntarily offer the school buildings for isolation wards as per the requirement in case of any critical situation. He said that once the health department requisites the building, it would be immediately evacuated.
Mr. Singla said that apart from restricting the movement in the schools, an intensive awareness drive has also been launched in the state today onwards. He added that the teams led by health department staff and other officials were visiting each and every household in villages and cities as well to make the residents aware of the coronavirus.

: Punjab Safai Karamchari Commission Chairman Mr. Gejja Ram today sought immediate supply of safety kits to Safai Karamcharis to avert any probable threat of COVID 19. He called upon Chief Secretary Punjab and given him a memorandum in this regard.
In the memorandum, he said that the Safai Karamcharis and Sewermen works in severe conditions such as in sewer manholes and in polluted atmosphere. They are most vulnerable of this deadly virus but they don’t have gloves, masks, shoes/socks to avert these types of viruses, even they don’t have the sanitiser to disinfect their hands. He strongly demanded that safety kits to be provided immediately so that Karamcharis feel safe in severe conditions.