With the state’s Covid positivity rate sliding to 0.4 per cent, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered lifting of weekend and night curfew, and allowed gatherings of 100 persons indoors and 200 outdoors from Monday.
Even as he hoped that better sense will prevail on the political parties and leaders brazenly violating Covid curbs by holding massive protests, he asked Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta to issue challans against those indulging in anti-Covid behaviour.
At a virtual review meeting of the situation in the state, the CM also ordered opening of bars, cinema halls, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, gyms, malls, sports complexes, museums, zoos etc., subject to all eligible staff members and visitors having taken at least one dose each of the vaccine.
Though schools will continue to remain closed, colleges, coaching centres and all other institutions of higher learning shall be allowed to open by the deputy commissioner concerned, subject to a certificate having been submitted, that all teaching, non-teaching staff and students have been given at least one dose of vaccination, at least two weeks ago.
Amarinder, while reviewing the Covid situation virtually, said the situation will again be reviewed on July 20. Strict use of masks must be ensured at all times, the CM directed, while announcing the easing of restrictions.
Heath secretary Hussan Lal said four districts had shown positivity of one or less than one per cent, but the districts that still needed vigilance were Ludhiana, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Firozpur and Roop Nagar.
Referring to the cases of Mucormycosis, which has been reported in 623 patients as of 8 July, the CM asked the Health Department to work out a proposal for supporting and helping in the treatment of such patients. Of the 623 cases, 67 are from outside the state, the health secretary informed the meeting, adding that 337 cases were under treatment and 154 had been discharged while 51 patients had died. The maximum cases reported in day was 34 on 27 May, while the average of daily cases in the first week of July stood at five.
The CM noted that due to the SOPs in place, and the level of COVID and post COVID care, Punjab has had much fewer cases and deaths than most other states, including Haryana, and Delhi. Against 623 cases and 51 confirmed deaths so far in Punjab, both Haryana and Delhi have seen over 1600 cases each, and 193 and 236 deaths respectively.
The CM asked the concerned departments to step up Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to expeditiously identify cases of new Covid variant and to fast track the project for execution of the MoU with ICMR for Regional Institute of Virology, Mohali.
Even as the second surge continued to abate in the state, Amarinder Singh on Friday approved Rs 380 Crore to be spent by the Health and Medical Education departments in preparing for a possible third wave of the Covid pandemic.