CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on Thursday announced suspension of public transport services from Friday midnight, besides restricting public gatherings to less than 20, in the state, inching closer to a shutdown amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.
It has also decided to shut marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining places, except home delivery services and takeaways in the entire state.
"Public transport buses, tempos and auto-rickshaws will be suspended from the midnight of Friday," Local Bodies minister Brahm Mohindra here.
These decisions were taken in a meeting of the seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM), formed by the Punjab government to review the situation triggered by the coronavirus outbreak on a daily basis.
The GoM also decided to restrict the public gathering to 20.
Earlier, it was restricted to 50 people.
The minister further said the public dealing in the government offices will also be restricted.
He further said the exams of classes 10 and 12 of the Punjab School Education Board have been postponed till March 31.
All commissioners, deputy commissioners, senior superintendent of police have been directed not to leave their stations, said the minister.
"The government is ready to deal with any eventuality," he further said, adding that the number of isolation wards would also be increased in hospitals.
Meanwhile, the sample of a 72-year-old man, who returned from Germany via Italy a fortnight ago and died at a hospital in Punjab's Nawanshahr district after severe chest pain, has tested positive for novel coronavirus, senior officials said on Thursday.
Though a statement here issued by the Chief Minister's Office said the "state reported its first case of corona death", Principal Secretary (Health) Anurag Aggarwal maintained that he was "a positive case of coronavirus who died of cardiac arrest".
The sample of the septuagenarian, who had diabetes and hypertension, tested positive after he died at the Banga community health centre on Wednesday, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Director Jagat Ram said.
When contacted, District Civil Surgeon Rajinder Prasad Bhatia said the man had arrived from Germany via Italy on March 7.
A resident of Pathlawa village in Nawanshahr, he came to the health centre with a severe chest pain on Wednesday and immediately collapsed.
He died later in the day, Bhatia said.
State Principal Secretary (Health) Anurag Aggarwal confirmed that the sample of the Banga resident had tested positive for coronavirus.
When asked whether he died of coronavirus, Aggarwal said,"There could be multiple reasons of his death but he suffered a cardiac arrest.
There can be underlying reasons, he had coronavirus, diabetics also.
He was a positive case of coronavirus who died of cardiac arrest," said Aggarwal.
Meanwhile, the Nawanshahr district administration has activated all protocols for containment measures at Pathlawa village to ensure the safety and screening of all people with whom had entered into a contact, an official said.
The village was sealed and the health authorities were in the process of putting his relatives and friends with whom made contact under isolation.