Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 7
Concerned over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am in the worst-affected cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala from Saturday while directing all big cities and towns to prepare an integrated management plan for treatment of the disease at both government and private facilities, a press release by the state government read.
As cases in the state went up to 20,891, with 1,050 instances reported in one day on Thursday, the Chief Minister also announced a week-long trial of the enforcement of the mandatory mask-wearing rule by making offenders stand at the spot for an hour with a mask on.
He was of the view that making the offenders sweat it out might help check the violations on this count, which had crossed 3.82 lakhs.
Answering questions in his weekly #AskCaptain Live session on Facebook, which was advanced by a day to apprise the people about his visit today to the hooch tragedy affected Tarn Taran district, Captain Amarinder also appealed to the people to get themselves tested early and start treatment in a proper hospital, urging them not to rush to private tertiary care facility directly since good treatment was available in government hospitals.
There were adequate testing facilities available in the state, he said, adding that four new testing labs would become operational on Monday.
Delay in going for testing and treatment was the main cause for the increasing number of COVID deaths, he said while pointing out that with 26 persons succumbing to the virus on Thursday, the death toll in the state had gone up to 517.
Expressing concern over the steady increase in COVID-19 infections and positivity in the state, which reported 8.50 per cent cases in the samples tested in the past one week, the Chief Minister said: “With the peak projected to come in Punjab by end of August or early September, one cannot be certain how high the peak of daily cases may go. Given the recent increase in cases in districts like Bathinda, Barnala, Ferozepur, we cannot afford to be complacent, he said, urging people to hold their nerve in these tough circumstances and fight the disease with strength and determination.”
In response to a question, the Chief Minister directed an inquiry by the Vice Chancellor into the case of death of a non-COVID patient, Dr Parvinder, at GGS Medical College, Faridkot, as doctors refused to treat him till the file work was completed and the COVID test report came, even though he was suffering from low oxygen levels.
Expressing his deepest sympathies with the deceased’s wife, Dr Neeta Pandhu from Abohar, he said this was not acceptable and the patient had to be attended first at all costs. Strict action will be taken against those found responsible, he added.
In response to a question from a Tarn Taran resident regarding what the hooch tragedy affected families had told him during their meeting, the Chief Minister said they wanted strong action and punishment for the culprits. Though they did not demand it, he had announced financial help and had directed the DC to ensure that they got what they needed, in terms of even jobs and improving their houses, he added.
“We will go beyond financial compensation for the families of the victims,” Captain Amarinder said. He reiterated his commitment to wiping out hooch problem from the state and said he had directed the DGP to crack down on the hooch smugglers.
On long queues for payment of electricity bills, with no social distancing, the Chief Minister said he would issue instructions to the chairman of the electricity board to rectify the situation.
On delay in issuance of heavy vehicle driving licence issuance/renewal in some districts, he said the delay was due to social-distancing norms but he would ask the department to find ways of expediting the process without compromising on the COVID-19 protocols.
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