COVID-19: Punjab govt extends curbs till June 10

The Punjab government on Thursday extended the coronavirus restrictions till June 10 but removed the limit on the number of passengers in personal vehicles and allowed the resumption of elective surgeries and OPD operations in hospitals.

The state government had imposed extensive curbs, in addition to measures like a weekend lockdown and a night curfew to check the spread of the infection.

The decision to extend the curbs was taken at a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here, according to a government statement.

Earlier, the state government had extended the Covid curbs till May 31.

The CM directed the resumption of elective surgeries in both government and private hospitals besides the restoration of outpatient department (OPD) operations in view of the improvement in the coronavirus situation, the statement said.

The state government had stopped elective surgeries on April 12 to ensure adequate availability of beds and medicine oxygen for serious infection cases.

The CM has now allowed these to be resumed, subject to the condition that there shall, for the present, be no reduction in beds for Level-3 coronavirus patients in hospitals.

The CM also said while the limit on the number of passengers in personal vehicles is being removed, the limit on commercial passenger vehicles and taxis will continue to be in place.

Earlier, the government had announced that not more than two persons could travel in a car.

Pillion riders on a two-wheeler were also not allowed, except for those belonging to the same family and living in the same house.

The deputy commissioners may make any adjustment for the opening of shops dealing in non-essential items as are merited by local conditions, the CM said.

According to the statement, given the comfortable oxygen situation currently, the CM directed that it now be allowed to be used for essential non-medical purposes, with a three-day buffer stock of it, however, to be maintained at all times.

He said oxygen concentrator banks have been created in every district for post-covid care patients who have a doctor’s prescription.

The control room had ensured that there was no shortage of oxygen in any hospital, he said, adding that the demand in the state had come down from 304 metric tonnes to 236 MT in the past 10 days.

The CM directed the Health and Medical Education Departments to continue strengthening the Covid care infrastructure to deal with a possible third wave of the pandemic.

He asked them to invest in augmenting paediatric care and to seek 500 ventilators for it from the Centre.

It was told at the meeting that all 809 ventilators received earlier under the PM Cares Fund have been distributed and 136 of them were not working.

The CM also ordered the creation of more technical and specialist posts to meet the demand of the possible third wave.

All mid-level IAS/PCS transfers in all departments should be put on hold till the Covid crisis continues, directed the CM.

The CM also warned that profiteering and fleecing of patients by private hospitals amid such a crisis will not be allowed at any cost.

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