The state government will take a final decision on the opening of gyms and coaching centres after assessing the situation on the ground, said Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh while reacting to the guidelines on Unlock 3.0issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday.
He sought the views of Deputy Commissioners (DCs) on opening of the gyms and the coaching centres on Thursday at a COVID-19 review meeting held here through video conference (VC).
The CM said that the final decision on this and other relaxations in Unlock 3.0 would be taken only after receiving the inputs from the DCs.
At the review meeting with the DCs and health officials on guidelines on Unlock 3.0containment and management arrangements, the CM said while the Central government had announced certain relaxations, including permission for opening of gyms, as per the Unlock 3.0 guidelines, he will decide on the same after an assessment of the ground situation.
He asked the DCs to think through and submit their views to the Chief Secretary, following which a final decision will be taken by the government after due deliberations.
Underlining the need for strict enforcement in view of the increasing number of cases in the state, the CM said while there was a lot of demand from youngsters for opening of both gyms and coaching centres, the modalities would have to be thought through and all options explored before the decision can be taken.
Taking serious note of reports of violation of social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols by some shopkeepers, he directed the DCs to order shut-down of shops for three days in the case of the first offence and for a higher number of days on subsequent violations. He further asked the DCs to strictly enforce all safety protocols and norms, including wearing of masks and social distancing, to check the spread of the pandemic.
Expressing grave concern over the increasing mortality, the Chief Minister called for concerted efforts to bring down the fatality rate. Punjab has so far lost 361 lives to COVID-19, with 25 patients succumbing since last night, he pointed out, adding that this was not acceptable. With early detection being the only ‘cure’, the message of early treatment has to go down more effectively, he said, directing the DCs to take all steps necessary to create awareness among people to go for testing at the first sign of illness.
Meanwhile, amid spiralling COVID-19 infections and deaths, the Chief Minister also made it clear that plasma will be provided free of cost by the state government to all those in need. He directed the Health Department to strictly ensure that COVID-19 patients are not charged for plasma therapy and that nobody is allowed to buy or sell plasma, which has proven to be a life-saver in many cases in the absence of any cure for COVID-19.
The Chief Minister also appealed to the recovered COVID-19 patients to come forward to save the lives of others. He urged the DCs and health department officials, to motivate such patients to donate plasma. Currently, there are around 10000 recovered COVID-19 patients in the state, he said, adding that his government’s priority was to save each and every life in Punjab.
Capt. Amarinder Singh asked the Health Department to expedite setting up of two new plasma banks at Amritsar and Fardikot to supplement the one already operational in Patiala.
Expressing concern over the increasing number of cases in the state, Captain Amarinder Singh also asked Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu to send a viable proposal for earmarking 10 beds in all the district hospitals for treatment and care of mild/minor cases of infection. The Health Minister had earlier proposed such dedicated facilities in all the civil hospitals of the state.
The Chief Minister also asked the DCs to ensure proper coordination and care in the tertiary facilities for the very sick patients, and also work closely with the dedicated nodal officers appointed in five districts with the highest caseload. These officers have been tasked with ensuring high quality treatment in consultation with experts led by Dr KK Talwar.