Expressing satisfaction over the corona situation being under control in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday ruled out further lockdown so far, while appealing to the people to strictly adhere to the safety protocols and restrictions to save themselves, their families and the state.
“Regarding further lockdown…the time will tell. In Punjab, if there are chances of further spread, I will not let it spread…I will do my best…We have a team of eminent doctors including former PGI director Dr KK Talwar, PGIMER’s School of Public Health’s former head Dr Rajesh Kumar, and Baba Farid University Vice Chancellor Dr Raj Bahadur. They are advising us and we will go by their advice,” said the Chief Minister while interacting with the media.
At the same time, he maintained that the COVID situation in Punjab was more or less under control as compared to the states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi and hoped that people’s pro-active participation to tackle the corona crisis would surely keep this unfortunate stage at bay.
Pointing out that the State had adequate essential equipment to manage any further spread of the pandemic, Capt Amarinder said that the State had been largely able to control the COVID-19 so far and “I don’t wish the stocks to be pulled out of storage for use as our entire focus is on saving lives”.
Appreciating the indomitable spirit of Punjabis, Capt Amarinder called upon them to keep restraint in this hour of crisis amid corona virus in the larger public interests.
“I am really perturbed, when I go through daily reports of people challaned for violating the health safety measures and cautioned them to abide by the precautionary health guidelines not only to ensure their own safety but of the entire State too,” he said.
He also advised the people not to be callous and misconstrue the symptoms of coronavirus with common flu, cold, cough, body ache and fever due to change of season rather they should immediately seek advice from the doctor to have timely treatment.
He further informed that the COVID-19 testing capacity would be enhanced to 20,000 per day by July end with four new testing labs, which was at present around 10,000 per day.
PUNJAB’S PREPAREDNESS ON COVID
Chief Minister said that Punjab has made elaborate arrangements to combat any emergent situation in near future.
“In the first stage, 4248 beds in government hospitals had been set aside, with another 2014 now being added, while the private hospitals had allocated 950 beds for COVID patients. The total number of isolation centres identified to accommodate a large number of cases if the crisis aggravates stands at 52 government and 195 private,” he said.
Of the 554 ventilators available, the Chief Minister said that in addition to the equipment already handed over to hospitals and other frontline workers, the Health Department had stocks of 5.18 lakh N95 masks, 75.47 lakh lakh triple layer masks, 2.52 lakh PPE kits and 2223 oxygen cylinders.
“Some say we will reach the peak (of COVID-19 cases) in July, some say August, September, October or November. It could be anytime. There is no clear cut method of this escalation. We have to be prepared,” he said.
Capt Amarinder said that when the number of active cases crosses 5,000, the State will activate ‘phase two’ of its plan under which 10,000 beds will be added in cities and districts with high infections.
“If we reach 10,000 (active cases), we will activate phase three, where we have made arrangements for another 10,000 beds in college and schools hostels, etc that we have earmarked in case of emergencies,” he said while assuring that there are enough available stock of N-95 masks, three-layer masks, personal protection equipment (PPE) kits in the state.