Chandgarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s hometown Patiala may have become the new hotspot of coronavirus in the state with 15 news cases being reported on Saturday.
While Mohali has seen the most number of confirmed cases (57), so far, followed by Jalandhar (41) in Jalandhar, Patiala is in the third spot with 26 patients. Pathankot is next in line with 24 COVID-19 patients.
The sharp rise in the number of cases in Patiala happened after a bookseller from the city’s old Kitabanwala Bazaar tested positive on Friday.
Several buyers, including parents who came to buy books for their children for the new session, and the man’s relatives were requested to get themselves screened. Among them, nine contacts tested positive on Saturday.
The man had reportedly sold books and stationery to hundreds of parents for the new academic session, besides supplied books to a prominent school in the city and several others in nearby towns.
Six contacts of a 60-year-old patient from Rajpura also tested positive on Saturday, adding to the spike in the number of cases.
Patiala Civil Surgeon Harish Malhotra said 237 teams of the health department conducted surveys on 23,975 homes and screened 96,596 people, adding the screening will continue for next two-three days.
“There are a total of 26 cases. Samples of 16 contacts of a 60-year-old woman from Rajpura town were tested, of which six were positive. Nine contacts of a bookseller from Patiala tested positive. The area has been contained and the families have been isolated. Parents who had bought books from the infected bookseller were requested by Deputy Commissioner Kumar Amit to come forward for screening and 68 families contacted the control room. Of these, 28 families are fine,” Malhotra said.
The administration had earlier banned langars from being organised in the district after an organiser tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, a police officer died of COVID-19 infection in Ludhiana on Saturday, taking the number of fatalities to 16 as 23 new cases surfaced in the state, an official said.
The state's coronavirus count now stands at 234, of which 187 are active cases, according to a medical bulletin.