CHANDIGARH: The death of a 70-year-old Sikh preacher has prompted authorities to seal the borders of two dozen villages with an approximate population of 26,000 people in two districts of Punjab. Baldev Singh, the preacher, had met several people instead of staying on self quarantine after a trip to Italy and Germany. Of the total of 38 COVID cases so far in Punjab, 28 are directly linked to the preacher. Sources said a total of 26 villages are sealed in Nawanshahr (18) and Hoshiarpur (6) districts.
Nawanshahr Nagar Deputy Commissioner Vinay Bublani said these villages were sealed as mandated by the quarantine norms. “In other villages in the districts where NRIs have arrived, they have been told to remain on home quarantine. Teams of health debarment along with other staff visit them daily to check their health condition.’’Sub Divisional Magistrate, Banga in SBS Nagar district. Gautam Jain said fifteen villages in his area were sealed for a period of two weeks.
“Essential commodities are being supplied to them. As per the data, the population of these villages is somewhere around 20,000.’’ A villager from Jikha, whose borders are sealed, said villagers are now scared to venture out. An official from Hoshiarpur said the six villages, which have been sealed in the district, are home to about 250 families. “Some 700 people who were in close contact with Baldev Singh (the preacher who died after contracting COVID-19) are among those quarantined. We are keeping a watch on them. Some 333 swab samples of symptomatic people have been taken from these villages so far,’’ said a health official.
Patiala seals two villages
After a 21-year-old man who returned from Nepal on March 20 been tested positive, authorities have sealed borders of two villages in Patiala district with approximately 2,000 population. Sources said that the youth, who hails from Patiala district — the home district of Punjab CM — worked in a private firm in Chandigarh. He had returned from Nepal on March 21. He had recently visited nearby Shahpur village.