Punjab Extends Covid Restrictions Till May 31 as High Positivity Keeps Govt on Tenterhooks
Amid high positivity and fatality rates, the Punjab government on Sunday extended all existing COVID restrictions till May 31. The state government has imposed extensive curbs, in addition to measures like a weekend lockdown and a night curfew to check the spread of the infection.
The announcement regarding the extension of curbs was made by CM Amarinder Singh, who gave directions for strict enforcement of all restrictions, asking the deputy commissioners to continue determine opening of shops in a staggered manner.
They can also make suitable amendments based on local conditions as long as these do not dilute the state’s overall restrictions, said the CM in an official statement here.
Reviewing the state’s COVID situation at a meeting, the CM said while the restrictions so far has shown results, with some decline in daily infection numbers, there is a need to extend the curbs due to high positivity rate of 13.1 per cent as of May 15 and case fatality rate (CFR) standing at 2.4 per cent.
The CM said the district authorities will continue to ensure strict implementation of all directives of the Union Home Ministry or the state government on COVID appropriate behaviour, including social distancing norms, regulating crowds in market places and public transport.
The CM also expressed concern over the spread of mucormycosis, a rare and dangerous infection called black fungus.
He stressed the need to increase surveillance as, saying if not treated early, it can cause severe complications.
He directed the Health Department to ensure that medicines to treat the disease are available with the state. These should be procured before there is panic for these medicines, he said.
Amarinder Singh asked the department to re-examine the standard operating procedure to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent this disease.
Dr KK Talwar, head of Punjab’s expert committee on COVID management, termed the fungal infections as a serious issue, which could be attributed to either high use of steroids.
The CM also directed the district administrations to investigate complaints of fleecing of patients by 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 police to crack down on those found indulging in hoarding or black marketing of any COVID-related essentials or medicines.
On the availability of medical oxygen for COVID patients, the CM said while the state, through judicious measures, had been able to prevent any mishap, the situation should be closely monitored by the Health Department.
The state government has successfully arranged for pressure swing adsorption plants and oxygen concentrators, which will further help tackle oxygen shortages, he said.
The CM said the state is expecting over 2,500 oxygen concentrators within this month.
The CM further said the Health and Medical Education Departments should ensure that there is no problem at any point with respect to hospital capacity, especially with regard to level-3 beds.
He asked the DCs to ensure that food kits are delivered to those in quarantine, reiterating that nobody should sleep hungry.