Haryana bans gathering of over five people in six worst-hit districts

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Chandigarh, Apr 24 (PTI) In a bid to tackle the coronavirus situation, the Haryana government on Saturday banned the gathering of over five people and ordered the implementation of the 'work from home' system in offices in its worst-hit six districts.

Deputy commissioners of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Hisar, Karnal, Sonipat and Rohtak have been asked to impose Section 144 of the CrPZC to control the COVID surge, CM Manohat Lal Khattar told reporters after chairing a meeting over the issue.

He, however, ruled out the imposition of a lockdown in the state but said there will be 'lockdown-like conditions' in place in the worst-hit six districts.

Government and private offices won’t be allowed to open to avoid crowding, he said, asking employees to adopt the 'work from home culture' to break the chain of the coronavirus infection.

The CM also ordered a restriction on gatherings in functions with the maximum limit fixed at 50 people for both indoor and outdoor events in the state.

He said for funerals, only 20 people will be allowed. Earlier, the limit for outdoor gatherings was 500 and indoor 200.

He asked people to postpone marriage functions. 'The authorities will only allow gatherings if it is necessary with a limit of 50 people,' he added.

He said both government and private hospitals have been asked to keep 50 per cent of their beds for infection patients.

A provision for 1,000 beds have been made at the PGI in Rohtak, he said.

He said there will now be at least 2,250 beds with oxygen facilities in government hospitals.

On the issue of medical oxygen, the CM said the situation is under control and there is no shortage of it in hospitals.

We had demanded 180 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen a day from the Centre, who fixed our quota at 162 MT, he said, adding that the state government will submit a revised demand of 200 MT tonnes per day to the Centre.

Khattar said his government had placed an order of 6,000 MT of liquid medical oxygen from the Bokaro steel plant, which will arrive soon by a special train.

The use of liquid oxygen in the industry for non-essential items has been banned, he said.

Besides, OPD services have been curtailed in government hospitals across the state.

Khattar said only 50 per cent attendance will be allowed in government and private sector offices across the state.

He said the supply of oxygen to Delhi from the Panipat plant will continue uninterrupted. Six small plants manufacturing liquid oxygen will be operational in the state in the next two days, he said.

Stressing that the state government was 'alert and on toes', he asked the public not to create panic over the issue of oxygen.

He said anti-COVID injections will be administered to those above 18 years free of cost at government facilities from May 1.

The sharp surge in cases and fatalities continued in the state with Haryana on Friday recording 60 deaths and 11,854 cases, the highest daily figure so far.

More than one-third of the fresh infections were reported from Gurgaon, which along with Faridabad and Sonipat, is among the worst-hit districts. PTI VSD RDK RDK