Punjab to impound passports of travel history concealers, announces health insurance for cops, health workers

Amarinder Singh also authorized extension for all retiring Health Department employees by three months, on the proposal of the Chief Secretary, Karan Avtar Singh

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

Bipin Bhardwaj

Tightening noose around the 'foreign travellers' who failed to declare their travel history amid COVID-19 crises, Punjab government on Saturday warned of strict action, including impounding of passports, of those who have concealed their travel history.

At the first Cabinet meeting to review the current situation in the state, state Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh said there could be no compromise on this count and anyone found hiding their travel history from police or health department personnel would be dealt with strictly. “We will take away their passports too,” the CM warned.

To further strengthen the state government’s battle against the unprecedented crisis triggered by the global pandemic, special health insurance cover of Rs 50 lakhs each for the police personnel and sanitation workers in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19 was also announced on the lines of that announced for health workers by the Centre.

Amarinder Singh also authorized extension for all retiring Health Department employees by three months, on the proposal of  the Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh. The decision was taken in view of  the death toll due to COVID-19 which swelled to five, with 57 positive cases being reported in Punjab.

According an official spokesperson, the contact tracing of the returnees, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi's Nizamuddin, was being done on an aggressive scale and 192 persons from the list of 255 received by the state had already been tested and isolated. In addition, tracking was being done for all the foreign returned, as well as high-risk categories such as healthcare professionals, police etc.

So far, contact tracing had been done for 1600 , including 846 high-risk personnel and of them, 34 had tested positive. Geographical mapping was also being done of the movement of patients from their locations to hospitals. People were cooperating in the contact tracing process, as per the health department.

The Cabinet was further informed that there were enough PPEs for the health staff. Health Minister Balbir Singh Sandhu said it 1000 PPEs each were being made available at each Government hospital.

On the preparedness for tackling further spread of the disease, the cabinet was informed that 5000 isolation beds have been identified, of which 2500 are already operational. Buildings, including hostels, are being taken over and declared isolated for the creation of such facilities, with the state planning for 20000 cases

To further strengthen the supplies, 20 industries have been identified for manufacturing of PPE kits and N95 masks, and five of these have already been approved. Another half a dozen industries have been identified for the manufacture of low-cost ventilators.

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