Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered stricter lockdown on weekends and public holidays, amid apprehension about the community spread of COVID-19.
All citizens, except medical staff and essential service providers, would be required to download e-passes from the COVA app for movement on weekends and holidays, the chief minister directed at a video conference meeting to review the pandemic situation and the state's preparedness to handle further spread.
Industries, however, will be allowed to function normally on all days, Singh said and directed Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta to ensure strict compliance with these directives to prevent any gathering of large crowd, according to a government statement here.
Singh said such tough measures were necessary on account of the spiralling coronavirus cases across the world.
Stringent curbs could help delay the peak for as long as possible, he added, pointing out that with no early vaccine or treatment in sight, strict protocols was the only way to fight the pandemic.
Warning that the situation might worsen in the coming days, Singh asked medical and health experts to consider imposition of strict conditions, including mandatory testing certification, for entrants from Delhi, where the situation has assumed "alarming proportions".
On an average, 500-800 vehicles are coming to Punjab from the national capital every day, the police chief informed the meeting.
A decision on stricter curbs on those coming from Delhi will be taken after a review by the experts, said the statement.
Pointing out that many of those who had come from outside had behaved irresponsibly and had not reported to the health authorities, the chief minister said tough measures would have to be taken wherever needed, as the spike was still continuing and was expected to escalate in the days ahead.
He suggested that since it normally takes 3-4 days for the virus to show up, those coming from outside should be tested after a week and in the meantime they should be strictly asked to home quarantine themselves.
He also directed the DGP to ensure strict implementation of the home quarantine rule. The DGP disclosed that 550 flying squads of the Punjab Police were enforcing the same. On Wednesday, Punjab's COVID-19 tally stood at 2,805.