Restrict people’s movement into villages, says Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Chandigarh, (Asian independent) With the rural areas of the state, which were largely unaffected by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, now showing a spike in the number of cases, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged the villagers to restrict movement into their villages to only those who are free of the virus.

Addressing the people of the state in a Facebook Live telecast, the Chief Minister called for strict measures in the rural areas over the next two months, which he described as extremely crucial.

“Now the rural areas are seeing a surge in cases, so we need to be very careful,” he said, urging the villagers to conduct ‘thikri pehras’ (community policing) to keep outsiders away and allow only Covid-free people into the villages.

Exhorting people to “save your mohallas and villages to save yourself, your families and Punjab”, the Chief Minister asked them not to delay going to the hospitals.

“We have teams of doctors everywhere, approach them if you feel unwell,” he urged them, stressing that delay in going for treatment is leading to people ending up in L3 level.

While occupancy of L2 beds is 50 per cent, at the L3 level, around 90 per cent of the beds are currently occupied, and the state government is in the process of adding another 2,000 beds, he pointed out, attributing this to people not going for treatment in time.

Noting that there are three stages of the disease, of which the first can be managed at home, Amarinder Singh reiterated his plea to the people to go to a doctor at the first sign of showing symptoms.

“Let the doctor decide the course of treatment, don’t get into diagnosis and medication yourself,” he appealed to them.

“I fail to understand why we are harming the interests of the state and your families in this manner,” he said, adding that “we do not want Punjab to go the way of Delhi and Maharashtra, which have experienced unprecedented problems amid the second wave”.

The disease is wreaking havoc the world over, with even the most advanced countries not immune to it, he said, urging people to help his government save the state.

The Chief Minister also expressed happiness over the seamless completion of wheat procurement amid the Covid challenges, lauding the hard working farmers of the state for this achievement.

Compared to 129 lakh MT last year, a total of 132 lakh MT wheat has been procured this year, he said, adding that this has resulted in earnings to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore for the farmers, as against Rs 24,600 crore last year.

“We have won this battle but the pandemic threat continues,” he said, lamenting that despite 14 months having passed since the outbreak of the disease, some people are still not taking the pandemic seriously.

Giving figures, he said that Punjab has so far had 4.75 lakh plus cases, with Thursday’s 24-hour case load at 8,484.

While the total deaths stood at 11,297, the state had lost 184 lives to Covid on Thursday, he added. As of date, there are 9,619 patients on oxygen and 429 on ventilator support.