CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 11: Amid complaints of mass violations of Covid curbs at weddings and parties, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered the restriction of 100 on indoor and 250 on outdoor gatherings in the state, with extension of night curfew in all cities and towns, till January 1, 2021.
He also directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to strictly enforce the restrictions at marriage palaces and other places, with penalties to be imposed on the hosts in case of deviance.
Taking cognisance of the high case fatality rate in the state, the Chief Minister also extended curfew restrictions (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.) till January 1. The night curfew was earlier imposed from December 1 to December 15.
Chairing a high-level Covid review meeting, the Chief Minister also ordered an end to home quarantine for those above the age of 70 with co-morbidities, unless adequate medical facilities can be made available at home. Health Secretary Hussan Lal pointed out during the virtual meeting that a large number of Covid deaths were also being reported from home isolation cases.
To further check fatality, the Chief Minister also ordered a thorough check of all private hospitals to ensure that only those with adequate Level 3 infrastructure and manpower be allowed to admit Covid patients. Hospitals lacking such facilities should refer patients to other hospitals, he said.
Though the declining positivity trend in Punjab over the past 3 weeks was welcome, the fatality rate remained a matter of concern, said Captain Amarinder, directing the DGP to ensure strict compliance to Covid safety protocols, including wearing of masks and social distancing. He also asked the Health Department to maintain the 30000/day RTPCR sampling/testing limit, with more smart and targeted sampling to include potential super spreaders. Districts must be encouraged to make full use of the ITIHAAS portal to identify possible hotspots and concentrate their sampling there, he said, stressing the need to step up testing in containment and micro-containment zones and ensure 100 % sampling. The Chief Minister also asked the Health Department to monitor the health of the farmers who are returning from Delhi in view of the risk to them due to the high case load there.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal disclosed that so far, close to 35 lakh samples had been tested in th state, of which 1.5 lakhs were found positive. Though the second wave in Punjab had so far been mild, the health authorities were fully geared to tackle any eventuality, he said. He noted that 87% of the deaths had been over the age of 45, with about 50% of the deaths taking place at private tertiary care centres.
Dr KK Talwar, Health Advisor to Government of Punjab, apprised the meeting of the steps being taken to further reduce mortality. Pointing out that CFR was still a matter of concern even though it had come down to 3.2% in November, he said patients on monitors were being constantly watched, while detailed mortality analysis was being done hospital-wise every week. Availability of in-house blood gas analysers and High Flow Nasal Cannulas (HFNCs) were being ensured, especially at Level 3, along with one nurse per 2 beds in ICU and guideline-based therapeutic approach to treatment. Co-morbidities continued to be the main reason for the high number of deaths, he said.