CHANDIGARH: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the decision on further extension of the coronavirus lockdown in Punjab beyond June 30 would depend on the situation and asserted that he was ready to take whatever steps needed to control the spread of the infection.
"If we are able to control the pandemic then there would be no need for lockdown but if it goes out of control then we have no choice," he said during a facebook live.
"It is in your hands," he told a Ludhiana resident.
The lockdown was imposed for the safety of people, the chief minister was quoted as saying in an official statement.
With a rapid growth in coronavirus cases across the country, he said the norm of wearing masks in public had to be strictly adhered to.
He appealed to the people of Punjab to not violate safety protocols.
The chief minister pointed out that 4,024 people were challaned for not wearing masks and 45 for spitting in public on Friday.
"Not wearing masks or following social distancing norms or spitting are anti-social actions," he said, urging people to be cautious and follow all protocols and the advice of medical experts to check the cases from escalating further.
Noting that experts had projected Punjab's COVID-19 peak to be still some time away, Singh said the state could not afford to be lax in any way.
He said the state government was continuously increasing testing and it will further be ramped up to 20,000 tests per day by the end of this month.
Replying to a question on his facebook live session, he said the lower testing in Punjab, as compared to Delhi, has to be addressed, and disclosed that four more testing labs have already been approved by his cabinet which will help scale up testing two-fold over the next few days.
On private hospital overcharging coronavirus patients, the chief minister said the state government was in the process of fixing the rates.
He said vice chancellors of universities will meet the education department, which will also seek the University Grant Commission's directions on cancellation of exams in colleges.
The final decision will be taken within two-three days, he said.
The chief minister agreed to take up with the state cabinet the issue of raising the upper age for recruitment of DSPs and sub inspectors from 28 to 32 years for general category.