Chandigarh, April 30 (IANS) Amid concerns expressed by Deputy Commissioners on several Covid-infected persons coming in from outside the state in recent days, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered village-level quarantine in designated buildings.
He also issued strict instructions for compulsory institutional quarantine, for both positive and negative cases.
During a virtual meeting, the Chief Minister made it clear that no one coming from outside should be allowed to go home without completing the 21-day quarantine period, since symptoms generally show up after some time.
Where possible, those found positive and negative should be segregated in different buildings altogether, he suggested, as a measure to check the further spread of the pandemic.
He directed the officials to work with sarpanches to identify schools and other buildings for quarantine purposes in villages.
The Chief Minister also appealed to sarpanches and panchayats to increase village-level surveillance to check further spread of the disease.
So far, 3,525 pilgrims from Maharashtra’s Nanded and 153 students from Rajasthan’s Kota had returned to Punjab in the past four days, in addition to 3,085 labourers received at the Fazilka-Rajasthan border, the meeting was told.
Of those who had returned from Nanded, test reports had so far been received for 577 persons, of whom 20 per cent were found positive.
Incidentally, of the 105 fresh cases reported in the state on Thursday, 98 were from outside.
The Chief Minister directed the district officials to ensure that all those coming from outside download the COVA app to enable strict monitoring of their movement through Geo Fencing.
He further instructed tracking and screening of all those who had come from outside the state on their own.
Ruling out any relaxation at the borders, which continue to remain strictly sealed, the Chief Minister said there was no question of allowing any buses to enter Punjab without permit or approval from the respective states which are sending vehicles to pick up their people.
He directed the officers to ensure strict enforcement of the sealing at the borders, asserting that “we will not allow anyone to enter without proper procedure”.
In Punjab, the Chief Minister attributed the infections to three sources – NRIs, and the Tablighi Jamaat and Nanded returnees.
While Punjabis returning home were welcome, they had to be strictly quarantined, he said, directing the officials to ensure not to allow any unauthorised entry at the borders.
“If we do not control the situation, no industry will open,” he warned.
Stressing that industry was critical to reviving the state’s economy, he asked the Deputy Commissioners to explore ways of facilitating this.
Of the 2.5-lakh odd industries in the state, only around 3,600 were eligible to open, and of these, so far a mere 1,100 had chosen to open up, he said.
The Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana called for permission to industries not located in focal points and industrial estates to also open up, in designated areas as per the master plan.
The Chief Minister agreed, pointing out that with 95 per cent of the state’s industry in Ludhiana, it was important for them to start operating in order to revive the economy of Punjab.
He also stressed the need for all milk plants in the state to work at full capacities.