Punjab government orders fresh curbs to check COVID-19 surge, schools shut till March 31


New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday (March 19) had ordered a slew of restrictions which include the closing of all educational institutions till March 31 and curbs on cinema and mall capacities.

In the 11 worst-hit districts, a complete ban has been ordered on all social gatherings, except for funerals and weddings, which will be allowed with only 20 persons in attendance. This will be enforced from Sunday (March 21).

The Chief Minister also appealed to people to keep social activity in their homes to the bare minimum for the next two weeks to break the transmission chain, an official statement said, according to ANI.

Not more than 10 visitors should be entertained in homes, he urged chairing a meeting of the COVID-19 task force.

The Punjab CM also ordered the compulsory wearing of face masks, directing police and the health authorities to take all those loitering in public areas without it to the nearest testing facility to ensure that they are not asymptomatic cases.

Restriction of 50 per cent capacity will be there in cinema halls and not more than 100 persons in a mall at any time.

In the worst-hit districts, the chief minister has ordered cinemas, multiplexes, restaurants and malls to remain closed on Sundays through home deliveries will be allowed subject to night curfew.

The CM also asked the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner to talk to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) and the management of the Durgiana temple to encourage devotees to wear masks inside the shrines.

The rise in cases is a matter of serious concern, particularly in rural areas which had seen much fewer cases last year, said the Chief Minister, directing the departments concerned to launch awareness campaigns in villages.

In the 11 worst-affected districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Moga, the chief minister ordered restrictions on in-person public dealings in government offices with people to be encouraged to visit offices only for essential services.

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