2,039 new COVID cases, 35 deaths in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Mar 17 (PTI) The coronavirus surge continued in Punjab on Wednesday with 2,039 new infections and 35 more people succumbing to the pathogen, the Health Department said.

The active cases rose to 13,320 from 12,616 a day ago. As many as 1,274 more patients recuperated, taking the number of recoveries to 1.84 lakh, according to a bulletin.

The infection tally rose to 2.03 lakh, while 35 more fatalities took the toll to 6,172. There are 27 critical patients who are on ventilator support, while 283 are on oxygen support, the bulletin said.

Jalandhar reported a maximum of 277 cases, Ludhiana 233, Mohali 222, Patiala 203 and Hoshiarpur 191. A total of 54.61 lakh samples have been collected for testing so far, it added.

On Tuesday, the state reported 38 deaths and 1,475 new cases.

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal who had tested positive for the infection was taken to a private hospital in Gurgaon on Wednesday for further tests as a precautionary measure.

'Thanks to the blessings of Guru Sahib and all your good wishes, I am doing well,' Badal tweeted. 'Your messages of love & concern are much appreciated.' Chandigarh also reported a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases as 201 more people contracted the virus, taking the total cases to 23,592.

No COVID-related death was reported on Wednesday and toll stands at 359. The number of active cases rose to 1,330 and 70 more patients got discharged, taking the number of recoveries to 21,903, a bulletin stated.

A total of 2,84,386 samples have been taken for testing so far, it added.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's virtual coronavirus review meeting, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore said though the number of cases reduced drastically in January and February, there had been a substantial rise after that, according to an official statement.

Badnore informed Modi that against a population of 12 lakh, the Chandigarh administration had already conducted 2.80 lakh tests, adding that that 57,000 people had been vaccinated till date.

After the meeting, the administrator directed police to ensure that wearing of masks is strictly enforced, particularly at crowded places and markets.

Badnore appealed to the shopkeepers to ensure that the customers maintain social distancing within the shops and wear masks while shopping.

The administrator directed the Health Department to enhance the number of testing, particularly through the RT-PCR method.

He directed the doctors to send the genome samples to Pune so that the coronavirus strain could be determined.

The administrator also directed regular testing of school teachers, students and persons coming from outside at railway station and bus terminus. PTI CHS HMB