CHANDIGARH: Expressing grave concern over the escalating coronavirus crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a fiscal package to combat the crisis and for permission to get tests done at private hospitals and labs in the state.
Taking part in the deliberations during a video conference convened by the Prime Minister with all the Chief Ministers to review the situation, Amarinder said that there was urgent need to scale up the testing for the Coronavirus, and hence the Centre should immediately allow reputed private medical colleges and super-specialty hospitals.
He also suggested that ICMR should be allowed testing of close contacts of confirmed cases even without symptoms. He also requested the Prime Minister to immediately extend the travel ban on international flights for two weeks instead of one to prevent continued entry of NRIs into Punjab, and to enable the government to track and test all those who had already come in.
Amarinder also urged the Prime Minister to allow payment of wages to NREGA workers who could come to work as a preventive measures in view of COVID-19.
He further recommended that additional 5 kgs of wheat per person should be provided under Food Security Mission to help out the people in this hour of crisis. He also suggested that the Centre should soon come out with a comprehensive proposal to mitigate the adverse economic impact of coronavirus.
Meanwhile in another video conference Amarinder asked Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and SSPs to chalk out a comprehensive strategy for the containment of COVID-19.
He asked the DCs to ensure strict enforcement of quarantine and in case of any violation, cases under section 188 of IPC (on charges of negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) must be registered against violators.
He directed the Chief Secretary to issue detailed guidelines to the DCs to ensure strict vigil of persons in home quarantine to prevent further spread of the disease. He also asked the DCs to personally check hospital preparedness as well as quarantine facilities and isolation wards, especially from the hygiene and cleanliness angle.
He asked them to instruct the Civil Surgeons to ensure abundant stock of masks and PPE-Kits. The Chief Minister said that the ongoing multi-media campaigns should be intensified to further educate the people about the preventive measures and possible care in this regard.
Amarinder also appreciated the training sessions that had been held for educational institutions, government employees, police personnel and all workers on duty for this cause. He also lauded the stupendous work done so far by the entire health staff and further asked them to continue their endeavour till the battle against COVID-19 ends successfully.