CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on Thursday increased the fine for coronavirus patients violating home isolation rules from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000.
At present, 951 patients are in home isolation across the state.
Social gatherings with more than the permitted strength will lead to a penalty amounting to Rs 10,000, according to new guidelines announced by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a video conference meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the state.
The state government has also announced a fine of Rs 5,000 for owners of restaurants and eating joints violating social distancing norms.
The government had in May announced a fine of Rs 2,000 for coronavirus patients violating home isolation norms.
Under the existing guidelines, shops and commercial places are liable to pay Rs 2,000 for violation of social distancing norms, while for buses and cars such violations are punishable by Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 fine respectively, and in the case of auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers, the fine stands at Rs 500.
There is also a fine of Rs 500 each for not wearing a mask and spitting at public places.
At the meeting, the chief minister directed officials to take stern steps to ensure people wear face masks at public places.
Singh reiterated his earlier appeal to the farmers' outfits not to come out on the roads to protest against the central government's "anti-farmers" ordinances in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In another initiative, the chief minister has directed that mask vending machines be installed at vantage points such as bus stands.
He also directed Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan and health experts to work out modalities for setting up plasma banks in government medical colleges at Fardikot and Amritsar, in addition to Patiala, where the state's first plasma bank was inaugurated on July 21.
He appealed to people who have been cured of COVID-19 to donate their plasma to help out those fighting the disease.
The chief secretary informed the meeting that IAS and PCS officers who have recovered from the disease are being encouraged to lead the way by donating their plasma.
Expressing concern over the rising number of cases in the state where the COVID-19 tally has reached 11,301 with 269 deaths, the chief minister called for extreme caution and directed Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta to ensure strict enforcement of all precautionary measures.
He advised employees with fever or flu-like symptoms not to come to office and get themselves tested at the earliest as 28 police personnel at the Nathana police station in Bathinda have tested positive.
All the 28 policemen were contacts of an infected assistant sub inspector, the DGP said.
Gupta informed the meeting that 33 personnel had tested positive at the Lehra police station.
The Kharkhan BSF campus, which had turned into a super-spreader, had reported 126 COVID-19 cases, Gupta said.