coronavirus

Start community testing, scale up isolation beds: Punjab govt to health dept

State has reported 46 coronavirus cases, 5 of them on Wednesday

Start community testing, scale up isolation beds: Punjab govt to health dept

Volunteers from Dera Kar Sewa Sant Baba Bhuri Wale organisation prepare food for people in need during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19, in Amritsar on March 31, 2020. AFP

Chandigarh, April 1

Punjab ordered its health department on Wednesday to start community testing for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in all districts where COVID-19 cases have been detected and aggressively scale up isolation beds to 5,000, with a top official saying the government is preparing for the “worst-case scenario”.

The state has reported 46 cases of the coronavirus, five of them on Wednesday.

Also, nine people from Punjab attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, which has become the latest hotspot of the pandemic in the country, but none returned to the state, according to officials.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the health department to make mobile testing vans operational in all districts reporting COVID-19 cases to do community testing for SARI.

He has also ordered it to set up 5,000 isolation beds soon to meet any eventuality, an official statement said.


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The government is preparing for the worst-case scenario, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh said.

He said manpower recruitment and training has started “on war footing” to ensure the state is ready in the coming weeks.

The chief minister has asked the department to order necessary protective gear, ventilators, masks on priority and told the deputy commissioners to personally oversee the availability of food and other essential goods across the state during the curfew.

He directed the DCs to disburse social-security pensions, old-age pensions and other benefits to through business correspondents instead of direct bank transfers as the beneficiaries are unlikely to visit an ATM or bank.

For the coming Baisakhi festival, he urged the acting jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh, to issue an appeal that people offer prayers at home. — PTI

 

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