Following the fresh Covid surge, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered state-wide restrictions beginning tomorrow, with closure of educational institutions till 31 March and restrictions on cinema as well as shopping mall capacities.

All educational institutions, other than medical and nursing colleges, will remain closed till 31 March, while restriction of 50 per cent capacity in cinema halls and not more than 100 persons in a shopping mall at any time have been imposed.

The CM appealed to 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. In the 11 worst-hit districts, a complete ban has been ordered on all social gatherings and related functions, except for funerals and 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 p.m. to 5 a.m, the CM 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 will be allowed to function, but barring these, all restrictions shall be strictly enforced, the CM directed the top civic and police officials in these districts. In the 11 worst affected districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Hosh-iarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Moga, the CM ordered restrictions on inperson public dealings in government offices.

Dr KK Talwar, who heads the state government’s Covid expert team, said the surge in cases appeared to be the result of opening of schools and colleges, with young asymptomatic people appearing to be spreading the virus.
(With input from PTI)