CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday extended the lockdown in the state by another month till June 30.
Though experts have advised against the opening of the hospitality industry and malls, the Chief Minister said the state would take into account the central government guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.
The Chief Minister announced his decision after an on-ground assessment of the Covid situation through a video conference with health experts, along with top officials and Cabinet Ministers Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Tript Singh Bajwa.
The move is also in line with the central government's decision to extend the national lockdown beyond May 31.
Making it clear that the extension of the lockdown in Punjab would be conditional to strict adherence to Covid safety protocols, including physical distancing and the wearing of masks, the Chief Minister also ordered the distribution of free masks to the poor.
DGP Dinkar Gupta told the review video conference that wearing of masks was being strictly enforced across districts, with more than Rs 1 crore collected as fine from the offenders.
Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Anurag Agarwal said that soon home surveillance will begin by the deployment of Covid Foot Soldiers who will track and trace infections in the state. Asha workers and local women will be hired for the task. They would be paid Rs 2 per person for each household surveyed, he said.