People who step out without a mask in Punjab will face public humiliation, made to stand at the spot for an hour, according to instructions issued by CM Amarinder Singh who also announced a longer curfew in three cities.
According to a government statement, the instructions regarding the mask will be implemented for a week on a trial basis. The violators will be made to stand at the spot for an hour with a mask on, it said.
The CM also announced to increase the duration of the night curfew by two hours in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala after a surge in coronavirus cases, it said.
Currently, the night curfew in the state remains in force from 11 pm to 5 am. But in the three cities, it will be implemented from 9 pm to 5 am.
While answering questions in his weekly #AskCaptain Live session on Facebook, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also directed to prepare an integrated management plan for the treatment of the disease at both government and private facilities in all big cities or towns.
The instructions were issued as the state witnessed it steepest single-day spike of 1,063 cases, taking the coronavirus tally to 21,930. Twenty-three fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 539.
He urged people not to rush to a private tertiary care facility directly since good treatment is available in government hospitals.
There are adequate testing facilities available in the state, he said, adding that four new testing labs will become operational on Monday.
The delay in testing and treatment is the main cause of increasing number of COVID deaths, he said.
Expressing concern over a steady increase in infections, the chief minister said with the peak projected to come in Punjab by the end of August or early September, one could not be certain how high the peak of daily cases may go.
“Given the recent increase in cases in districts like Bathinda, Barnala, Ferozepur, we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said, urging people to hold their nerve in these tough circumstances and fight the disease with strength and determination.
In response to a question, the chief minister directed an inquiry into the death of non-COVID patient at Faridkot’s GGS Medical College as doctors there allegedly refused to treat him till the file work was completed.
Strict action will be taken against those found responsible, he added.
He also shared details of various announcements he had made earlier in Tarn Taran when he met families of the hooch tragedy victims.
Amarinder said the magisterial probe into the tragedy, which has claimed 121 lives, will be completed within three weeks and all those found complicit will be brought to book.
The chief minister said the families too want strict punishment for the culprits.
Though they did not demand it, but he had announced financial help and had directed the deputy commissioner to ensure that they get what they need, in terms of jobs and improving their houses, he added.
“We will go beyond financial compensation for the families of the victims,” he said.
He reiterated his commitment to wiping out hooch problem from the state and said he had directed the DGP to crack down on the smugglers.