With the state’s Covid positivity rate sliding to 0.4 per cent, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered the lifting of weekend and night curfew and allowed gatherings of 100 persons indoors and 200 outdoors from July 12.
While reviewing the Covid situation, the chief minister virtually also directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to issue challenges to all political leaders violating pandemic rules while holding rallies and protest meetings. The situation will again be reviewed on July 20, he said.
Here are the highlights from the announcement:
• Bars, cinema halls, restaurants, spas, swimming pools, gyms, malls, sports complexes, museums, zoos etc., will be allowed to reopen subject to all those eligible staff members and visitors who have taken at least one dose each of the vaccine.
• Schools will continue to remain closed.
• Colleges, coaching centres and all other institutions of higher learning shall be allowed. They will need to have certification detailing all teaching, non-teaching staff and students have been given at least one dose of vaccination, at least two weeks ago.
• Strict use of masks must be ensured at all times, the Chief Minister directed, while announcing the easing of restrictions.
• Heath Secretary Hussan Lal said four districts had shown positivity of less than 1 per cent, but noted Ludhiana, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Firozpur and Roop Nagar still needed vigilance.
• Referring to Mucormycosis cases, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to work out a proposal for supporting and helping in the treatment of such patients.
• Singh also asked the concerned departments to step up Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to identify new Covid variant cases and fast track the project for execution of the MoU with ICMR for Regional Institute of Virology, Mohali.
• No fresh cases of Delta Plus variant (apart from two reported earlier based on May sampling) had been identified in the state. Whole Genome Sequencing Lab at GMCH Patiala, coming up with PATH support, has been ordered to become functional this month. PATH has informed the state government that the machine is likely to be installed by July 25. VRDL GMC Patiala has applied for registration with INSACOG.
• Punjab has also starting dry swab testing, with a pilot at GMC Patiala next week. Considering its lesser cost and quick turn-around, the dry swab variant method can only be used as a screening tool in settings where automated RNA extraction is not available.
• As per Centre’s guidelines, Punjab has identified 10 sentinel sites and sending at least 15 samples per site every 15 days for whole genome sequencing. Positive samples of post vaccination, re-infection cases, death cases, severe cases, clustering etc. are being sent for WGS, the meeting was informed.