Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh on Friday made it clear that any decision on extending the curfew beyond April 14 would depend on the prevailing situation.
The CM was reacting to reports in a section of the media quoting him as saying that he will not lift the curfew, imposed in the light of COVID-19 crisis, on April 14.
Amarinder said what he had said was that no firm decision or timeline could be committed at this juncture. Restrictions would have to continue as long as needed to save lives and save the state, he added.
Any decision on lifting or extending the curfew or lockdown in the state will be taken in the light of the situation that exists at the time, said Amarinder. It would depend entirely on how things are then, he said, adding that it was not possible to commit either way at this juncture, when the situation as dynamically evolving.
If things improve then there would be no need for such tight restrictions, said the Chief Minister. However, if the situation takes a turn for the worse, there would be no option with the government but to continue with controls, either through curfew or lockdown or any other necessary means, he added.
The CM, at the same time, assured the people of Punjab that his government would continue to take more and more steps to minimise the hardships suffered by them as a result of the curfew. Already, a lot of essential services that were initially locked down had been restored, he pointed out, citing the examples of banking, postal and courier, harvesting, etc.
The necessity for doctors, health staff and regular patients to take curfew passes had also been done away with.
Going forward, a lot more steps would be taken to further ease the lives of the citizens, irrespective of whether or not the curfew continues, said Amarinder.
Punjab was the first state in the country to impose curfew in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The CM said while the move has helped to keep the spread of the Coronavirus under check, the state government would not allow itself to become complacent.
Amarinder said he had already directed the Health Department to prepare, on war footing, for any eventuality, including community spread of the pandemic.