CHANDIGARH: Amid apprehensions of community spread of Covid-19 in the state, the Punjab government on Friday decided to extend the lockdown in the state till May 1. It also passed an ordinance to make private hospitals in the state join the efforts to curb the pandemic.The decisions were taken at a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to check the spread of the disease and to prevent overcrowding at the mandis in the light of the ensuing wheat harvesting and procurement season.
Punjab is the second state after Odisha to extend the lockdown. Amarinder will convey the decision to PM Narendra Modi at Saturday’s conference with the chief ministers. Pointing out that most of the 27 positive cases reported on Thursday (the maximum daily increase for the state) were cases of secondary transmission, Amarinder described it as an indication of the state moving into the stage of community transmission. The situation could seriously worsen in the coming weeks, he said at a video conference with the media, hosted by the AICC from New Delhi, while referring to a PGIMER-Chandigarh report. Citing the grim projections about the spread of the pandemic in the coming weeks, the Punjab CM said the curfew restrictions were essential so that the medical infrastructure was not burdened beyond its capabilities.
The state cabinet also approved the Punjab Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Ordinance 2020 to bring the private hospitals under the umbrella of the Covid-19 battle. The CM said it was important to activate all the resources in the light of the current battle.The cabinet also decided to set up a task force to formulate an exit strategy for gradual relaxation of curfew and approved establishment of a panel to suggest a roadmap for the economic revival after the Covid-19 crisis ends.
Captain vs PGIMER on infection
Captain Amarinder Singh cited a PGIMER study to claim 58% of Indians and 87% people in Punjab were likely to get infected. The authorities of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research denied conducting any such study. “…PGI-Chandigarh is not aware that any expert or faculty member from the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health of the Institute has carried out any study or estimate that COVID -19 may peak by mid-September and can infect 58% of country’s population. This fact has also been confirmed by the Head, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health of the Institute,” read a statement issued by PGIMER PRO. Reacting to this, the CM’s media adviser tweeted the report cited by him “is assessment of Dr. Shankar Prinja, Addl Professor of Health Economics, Dept of Community Medicine & School of Public Health, PGIMER & his team”.