Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced compulsory 21-day quarantine for all those returning to the state from other places to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although, he did hint at certain relaxations, with restrictions and precautions, in the coming days.
The government said all pilgrims returning from Maharashtra's Nanded, and students and labourers coming from Rajasthan, will be stopped at the border and sent to state-run quarantine centres to ensure that they do not mix with other people for 21 days. Radha Soami Satsang Deras would also be used to quarantine these people, whose return was being facilitated by his government over the week.
An Expert Committee formulating Punjab’s COVID lockdown exit strategy has submitted its report and the CM has indicated of gradual relaxation of prohibitions. Captain Amarinder discussed the situation, as well as the ongoing farm procurement operations in the state with Congress MLAs via video conference.
There was largely a consensus among the MLAs to continue with strictness for another couple of weeks with very limited relaxations in certain areas only, and borders to remain sealed not just around Punjab but also among districts and around villages. Any COVID-19 patient should be hospitalised/treated within their own district, to limit outside contact and exposure, they opined, advising extreme caution in lifting restrictions.
CM Capt. Amarinder Singh also said that he will ask the Uttar Pradesh government to take responsibility for repatriating its migrant workers in Punjab after the end of their quarantine period. The Chief Minister further made it clear that his government would make all efforts to retain and care for the migrant labourers, whose return was now being facilitated by various states, such as Uttar Pradesh.
“We need to look after them so that they do not leave Punjab, where they are needed to help out in the procurement operations as well as the industries that we are gradually opening up,” he said.
Pointing out that cases were continuing to rise even after over a month-long lockdown, the Chief Minister said the Centre had indicated, based on various inputs and studies, that the increasing trend would continue till July. He maintained that the lockdown was necessary to delay the spread of the virus as far as possible to enable the nation to prepare better if the situation worsens, and also in the hope of a vaccine.
Amarinder Singh also assured that there would be no shortage of bales to handle the bumper wheat crop, expected this season. He also reiterated that there would be no legal action against owners of industries in case of any incidence of COVID-19 in their establishments.
(With inputs from agencies) (PTI Photo)