Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ruled out a complete lockdown in the state, saying it is not a solution as it will lead to an exodus of labourers and force them to go to states with even lesser medical facilities.

Urging industries to set up their own Covid treatment centres and makeshift hospitals to treat their labourers suffering from mild/moderate infection, he stressed teamwork to fight the Covid battle.

He also directed the Chief Secretary to look into encouraging retired doctors and nurses, along with final year MBBS students, to rejoin for handling L2/L3 facilities and suggested setting up temporary healthcare facilities in halls/gymnasiums.

The Chief Minister was chairing a virtual Covid emergency review meeting of the six districts of Ludhiana, SAS Nagar (Mohali), Jalandhar, Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar. He directed the DCs of these six worst-affected districts to further tighten the micro-containment strategy and ensure 100% testing.

Capt Amarinder Singh also directed the district administrations to enforce all restrictions strictly and stop dine-in facility in all high positivity areas, with Covid testing of staff in restaurants by the Health Department.

Expressing concern over the fewer number of containment zones in Mohali and two other districts that were among the most badly hit six districts, the Chief Minister ordered immediate steps to strengthen the containment and testing mechanism. The micro-containment strategy must be strictly implemented and encouraged, he said, directing all district officers to give this their highest priority to control the spread.

Even as he appreciated the good work being done by the officers, the CM expressed concern over the fact that 14 districts in the state currently had over 10% positivity rate, while 5 had more than 60% bed occupancy. 

The worst-affected Mohali district was currently showing 90% bed occupancy, the meeting was informed, with DC Girish Dayalan disclosing that a large number of patients had come from Delhi-NCR. With other regions in the tri-city not agreeing to a weekend lockdown, the situation was grim, he said.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal pointed to the rising positivity and case fatality ratio, and disclosed that the Punjab positivity rate currently stood at 12, with SAS Nagar (Mohali) reporting the highest at 22.9.