Amid COVID-19 spike, Punjab orders night curfew, bans political gatherings
The Punjab government on Wednesday introduced fresh curbs to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered the extension of a night curfew across the state and banned political gatherings. The new restrictions will remain effective till April 30. The move comes on the day India reported a record single-day spike of coronavirus infections. Here are more details.
State-wide night curfew from 9 pm-5 am
Punjab has ordered a state-wide night curfew from 9 pm-5 am. Earlier, the night curfew was only imposed in 12 districts. Separately, the number of attendees at funerals or wedding-related events has been capped at 50 people (100, if the event is outdoors). Cinema halls can only operate with 50% seating capacity. Schools/educational institutions (barring medical/nursing colleges) will remain shut until April 30.
Public offices should only be visited for essential services
It is mandatory for all government employees to wear face masks in offices. In-person public dealing shall be restricted in all government offices. Virtual modes of grievance redressal should be encouraged. Public offices should only be visited for essential services. Concerned departments will issue instructions for limiting daily appointments. Each shop inside a mall can now have up to 10 people at a time.
Social, cultural, political, sports gatherings banned
No social, cultural, political, or sports-related gatherings will be allowed in Punjab till April 30. Violators, including political leaders, will be booked under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Act. Owners of tent houses and venues who make their services available to such gatherings will also be booked. Venues can even be sealed for up to three months.
Over 85% COVID-19 cases involve UK strain: CM
The CM said that over 85% of COVID-19 cases involve the UK strain, which is said to be more contagious. He also expressed concern over the state's high positivity and mortality rate. As of Tuesday, Punjab had reported a total of 2,57,057 COVID-19 cases, including 7,216 deaths and 2,23,928 recoveries. On Tuesday alone, the state had reported 2,924 new cases and 62 deaths.