Strict orders to deal with violators in Punjab ahead of Kisan Morcha’s call to defy lockdown restrictions tomorrow.

Amid the spiralling Covid numbers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday authorized the Deputy Commissioners to impose any new and harsher restrictions, as needed, within their respective districts, but made it clear that no dilution of the existing curbs would be allowed, except for opening of non-essential shops and private offices on rotation. He also directed the DGP to strictly enforce the weekend lockdown in the state and deal stringently with any violations in view of the Kisan Sangharsh Morcha’s anti-lockdown agitation on Saturday.

Asserting that the Kisan Morcha, an amalgamation of 32 kisan unions, cannot dictate terms to the state government, Captain Amarinder warned of strict prosecution in case of violation of any restrictions. He said if any shops are opened in violation of the restrictions, the owners will be prosecuted.

Chairing a virtual high-level Covid review meeting, the Chief Minister authorized the DCs to take any decision on opening of non-essential shops or private officers on rotation, after taking the local MLAs and other stakeholders into confidence. However, the DCs cannot impose any restrictions on inter-district movement, he said, underlining the need to allow free flow of people and goods on the Highway network of the State.

The new curbs, if any, and the opening of shops on rotation will come into effect from Monday, he said.

Responding to DGP Dinkar Gupta’s remarks that various districts wanted to adopt different models for phased opening of shops, the Chief Minister said the decision on working out the local systems rests with the DCs.

Taking serious note of the spike in cases in Malwa region, the Chief Ministers asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to examine the possibility of re-employing the volunteers deployed last year and also to get Rapid Antigen Tests done on all residents in the villages. He stressed the need to control the CFR, which stood at 2.1% as of May 6.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal, while briefing the meeting, informed that the positivity rate in the state had gone up to 13.5% on Thursday, when the state reportedly nearly 9000 cases.

Besides increase in L3 beds, the Health Department had increased procurement of Remdesivir 100 mg and other essential drugs. The department was expecting 60000 Oxymeters today and the same with be distributed to Covid patients as part of the Fateh Kits, he said.

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