Chandigarh, Jun 28 (PTI) Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan on Sunday directed all deputy commissioners to take whatever steps possible to arrest the state's mortality rate due to COVID-19 which currently stands at 2.4 per cent, an official release here said.
Efforts should be to save every Punjabi's life, said Mahajan, who took charge as the chief secretary last week.
Reviewing the state's preparedness to contain the spread of COVID-19, Mahajan, in her first meeting via videoconferencing with the DCs, expressed concern over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
She said it was the duty of every DC to go the extra mile to ensure proper surveillance and arrest the mortality rate.
Directing the DCs to take special care of critical patients, she said help should be taken from the State Expert Group chaired by Dr K K Talwar and international and national experts.
Mahajan instructed the DCs to allow COVID-19 patients to go to private hospitals at their own expense if they so wished. She also asked them to allow patients in government centres to get their own food, etc, if needed.
The chief secretary informed that the state government is working to increase the testing capacity to 20,000 per day. Four new testing labs approved recently by the state government are expected to be operational soon, and new equipment will be ordered in July.
She said the DCs should ensure that people wear masks and follow the instructions issued by the government.
It is critical to avoid large gatherings, especially in closed spaces, and masks must invariably be worn in such situations, she added.
Mahajan said not wearing masks, not maintaining social distancing or spitting in public are anti-social acts.
She urged the DCs to continue to appeal to the people in every district to be vigilant, take precautionary measures and follow the advice of health experts.
The meeting felt that a concerted effort should be made to remove the stigma that is being attached to people infected with COVID-19, the release said.
Mahajan said COVID-19 is like any other disease where people need to rest and keep away from others for two weeks so as not to spread the infection, and this message should be spread among all the people in the state.
Punjab has recorded 5,216 COVID-19 cases so far. A total of 133 people have succumbed to the disease in the state, according to official data. PTI CHS VSD DIV DIV