Amid the grim Covid-19 situation in Delhi-NCR and apprehensions of a second wave in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a series of fresh restrictions in the state, including re-imposition of night curfew in all towns and cities as well as doubling of fine for not wearing masks or following social distancing norms, with effect from 1 December.
The curbs, which will be reviewed on 15 December, also restrict opening timings of all hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces till 9.30 pm. Night curfew will remain in force from 10 pm and 5 am, announced the Chief Minister, warning people against letting their guard down under any circumstances.
Giving details of the new restrictions after a high-level state Covid review meeting, an official spokesperson said that fine for now following Covid-appropriate behaviour shall be hiked from the present Rs 500 to Rs 1,000.
Given the in-flow of patients from Delhi for treatment in Punjab, it has also been decided to review and optimise the beds availability in the state’s private hospitals. The Chief Minister has asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to work with the concerned departments to encourage more private hospitals to come on board and earmark beds for Covid care.
To further strengthen the availability of oxygen and ICU beds, Captain Amarinder has ordered strengthening of the L II and L III, with constant monitoring of districts that are not equipped with L III facilities. The management practices in GMCHs and Civil Hospitals should also be examined in light of the recommendations of the report received from the Expert Group, he said.
The Chief Minister has also directed the Health and Medical Education departments to make emergency appointments of specialists, super-specialists, nurses and paramedics, to further augment the manpower which was recently strengthened with the recruitment of 249 specialist doctors and 407 medical officers. The departments have also been asked to consider preparing 4th and 5th year MBBS students as reserve and back-up, in case needed in the future.
To ensure that no deaths take place in home isolation, Captain Amarinder said the agency hired to look into these cases should keep close tabs on such patients. While mortality audit was ongoing, it was a matter of satisfaction that the department was now collecting reasons for placing patients on ventilator by private hospitals, and there was a referral group available to monitor these patients, he added.