Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said oximeters will be made available to people at affordable cost through approved vendors in every district of the state. Each oximeter will cost Rs 514 and the Department of Health will issue detailed guidelines in this regard within a week, he said during his 17th #AskCaptain Live session on Facebook. The announcement has come in the wake of AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying his party workers will go to Punjab villages to check people's oxygen levels. Reacting to it, the Punjab CM had asked him to stay out of the state and focus on managing coronavirus situation in his city.
On Friday, Punjab reported its highest single-day spike of 2,526 coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally to 74,616. So far, the state has reported 2,212 deaths. The CM said till now the Health Department was purchasing oximeters at Rs 514 each for the health staff and now these will be made available through authorised vendors to the general public on a no-profit-no-loss basis.
Assuaging fears of a Gurdaspur resident, Amarinder said if he turned out to be COVID positive, he will not be put in hospital but will be asked for home quarantine and take care, with a regular watch on his health. Pointing to the state's high death rate, which according to an official statement was attributable to late reporting of cases, Amarinder Singh urged people to assist his government in reversing the trend by not ignoring the symptoms and getting themselves tested and hospitalised in time. The conditions in government hospitals have improved, said the chief minister, adding that a lot of money has been spent by his government to scale up the facilities.
The chief minister, in response to a question on whether masks could be removed during any functions/gathering while speaking through a mic, said it was advisable not to attend any social gatherings at all. However, if necessary, all protocols should be adhered to, he said. He maintained that things were not good across the country and the world, and Punjab was no exception. The chief minister, however, said the life of each Punjabi was important to him. On a Khadoor Sahib resident's suggestion that the Punjab government should offer financial incentive for plasma donation on the lines of a similar programme in Andhra Pradesh, the CM said, We are Punjabis and open-hearted. Why would a Punjabi take money for donating plasma and blood." "It's not in our culture and ethos, he added.
Referring to complaints on inflated power bills, the chief minister said meter reading was not taking place due to the pandemic but he had now ordered for it so that people could get bills on actual consumption. If higher amounts have already been paid, the same will be adjusted, he said. Expressing concern over increasing COVID fatalities, Amarinder Singh urged youngsters to think 10 times before posting or forwarding anything on social media as any irresponsible action could impact their future. The chief minister said, What you post on social media is your responsibility. You can't mislead people.
Saying that once a case is registered their entire future could be adversely hit, he urged the youth to act responsibly. Amarinder Singh said so far, 121 social media accounts/links have been blocked while 292 more have been identified by the Punjab Police for indulging in false propaganda on organ harvesting and COVID testing. We will not let anyone disturb Punjab's peaceful atmosphere with such vicious propaganda, he added. Attempts to mislead the people through fake news and posts are totally intolerable and unacceptable," said Amarinder Singh.