After Punjab witnessed 2,387 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the state government has decided to close all educational institutions other than medical and nursing colleges in the state till 31 March.
Balbir Singh Sidhu, Punjab Health Minister said,”CM-level COVID-19 review meeting happened yesterday. Night curfew from 9 pm to be announced in 11 districts where cases rising. To contain the spread, colleges, schools to be closed, only medical colleges to remain open,” news agency ANI reported.
The Punjab government also announced that the cinema halls will operate at 50% capacity and not more than 100 persons will be allowed in a mall at any time.
The situation will be reviewed after two weeks, said the chief minister, chairing a meeting of the COVID Task Force with top officials.
The state announced that starting from next week, one hour of silence to be observed in the state every Saturday,11am-12 noon, for those who lost their lives to Covid, with no vehicle to ply at this time.
Schools, Colleges, all educational institutions other than medical colleges in Punjab remain close till 31 March.
In the 11 worst-hit districts, a complete ban has been ordered on all social gatherings and related functions, except for funerals/cremations/ weddings, which will be allowed with only 20 persons in attendance. This will be enforced from Sunday. In these districts, which will remain under night curfew from 9 PM to 5 AM, the chief minister has ordered cinemas, multiplexes, restaurants, malls etc to remain closed on Sundays, though home deliveries will be allowed subject to night curfew.
Industries and essential services shall be allowed to function, but barring these, all restrictions shall be strictly enforced, the chief minister directed.
The chief minister on Friday also appealed to the people to keep social activity in their homes to the bare minimum for the next two weeks to break the transmission chain. Not more than 10 visitors should be entertained in homes, he urged.
Meanwhile, the infection tally climbed to 2.05 lakh and toll also rose to 6,204, as per bulletin.
The active cases also increased to 14,366 from 13,320 a day ago.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced a two-hour extension in the night curfew in the state’s nine districts worst affected by coronavirus.
Night curfew will now be in place from 9 pm to 5 am, instead of 11 pm to 5 am, in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Rupnagar.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh reported a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases as 211 more people contracted the infection in the past 24-hours, pushing the total to 23,803.
No coronavirus-related death was reported on Thursday and the toll stands at 359. The number of active cases rose to 1,466 on Thursday, as per bulletin.
Seventy-five patients were discharged, taking the number of recoveries to 21,978. A total of 2,86,187 samples have been taken for testing so far, as per bulletin.
Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore directed that the number of tests, particularly through the RT-PCR method, should be enhanced.
He advised hospital authorities to ensure that patients going for OPD consultation should preferably get themselves tested for COVID either from government or private facilities.
This will reduce risk of the spread of corona infection in hospitals’ premises and will prevent unnecessary risk to health workers and other patients, according to a government statement.
The administrator directed the municipal corporation commissioner to intensify contact tracing and enhance sanitisation in the city.
Recently, the Centre had deputed high-level public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab to assist in COVID-19 control and containment measures in view of recent spike in cases in these states.