COVID-19 worst-hit six districts in Punjab to tighten micro containment: CM

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Chandigarh, Apr 30 (PTI) Ruling out a complete lockdown for now, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday directed deputy commissioners of the state’s six worst-affected districts to further tighten the micro-containment strategy and ensure more testing to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Lockdown is not a solution as it will lead to exodus of the labourers and force them to go to states with even lesser medical facilities, he said.

Singh directed the district administrations to enforce restrictions strictly and to stop dine-in facility in all high positivity areas, with COVID-19 testing of staff in restaurants by the health department.

Urging the industry to set up their own COVID treatment centres and makeshift hospitals, he stressed on the teamwork to fight the pandemic.

He also directed the Chief Secretary to look into encouraging retired doctors and nurses, along with final year MBBS students, to rejoin for handling COVID facilities, and suggested setting up of temporary healthcare facilities in halls or gymnasiums, an official statement issued here said.

The chief minister was chairing a virtual emergency meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the six worst-hit districts of Ludhiana, SAS Nagar (Mohali), Jalandhar, Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar.

He ordered immediate steps to strengthen the containment and testing mechanism, the statement said.

'Micro-containment strategy must be strictly implemented and encouraged,' Singh said, directing all district officers to give this their highest priority to control the spread of the deadly virus.

The chief minister expressed concern over the fact that 14 districts in the state currently had over 10 per cent positivity rate and five had more than 60 per cent bed occupancy, the statement said.

A prefabricated 10-bedded hospital will come up at Mohali and a 250-bedded temporary hospital is being set up near Bathinda refinery, with oxygen supply from the refinery, he said.

Singh urged all departments to be prepared for the peak and identify areas in various districts for establishment of temporary hospitals.

An additional 2000 beds are being added in Punjab with 600 beds being added at GMCH Patiala and Amritsar, he said.

Earlier, Health Secretary Hussan Lal, in a brief presentation, pointed to the rising positivity and case fatality ratio and disclosed that the Punjab positivity rate currently stood at 12, with SAS Nagar (Mohali) district reporting the highest at 22.9, the statement said. PTI VSD SUN AQS AQS