Punjab villages achieving cent per cent vaccination target to be given Rs 10 lakh: CM

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Chandigarh, May 18 (PTI) Villages achieving cent per cent COVID vaccination target in Punjab will get Rs 10 lakh as a special development grant, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said here on Tuesday.

The idea behind this grant is to incentivise villages to give up vaccine hesitancy, he said while interacting online with village panchayats in view of the rise in coronavirus cases in rural areas.

He also appealed to sarpanches (village heads) and panches (members) across the state to lead their villages in the fight against COVID under the state government's 'Corona Mukt Pind Abhiyan', an official statement said here.

The chief minister urged them to motivate the people to undergo testing even in case of mild symptoms and to get themselves vaccinated.

He informed the sarpanches that his government had already given them permission to utilise up to Rs 5,000 per day from panchayat funds for emergency COVID treatment and a maximum of up to Rs 50,000.

He asked the panchayats to organise special medical camps and to rope in the services of ex-servicemen in this fight against the pandemic.

He asked the sarpaches and panches to start 'theekri pehra' (patrolling by a group of villagers) in their villages to prevent infected people from coming in, besides ensuring proper treatment to those whose oxygen saturation level goes below 94 per cent. He urged the people living in villages to immediately quarantine themselves in case of any symptoms, and get tested to ensure early detection of the infection. 'Any laxity or complacency on their part could lead to severe complications at a later stage which often has fatal results,' Singh said.

Pointing out that Punjab has a healthcare network with 2,046 health and wellness centres, and another 800 to be made functional soon, he asked the sarpanches and panches to avail healthcare services at these centres for the treatment of infected villagers.

The chief minister said that the state government was making efforts to procure sufficient stocks of the vaccine from different sources for inoculation of the 18-44 age group, besides urging the Centre for more vaccine doses for its population of above 45 years. Calling for collective efforts and cooperation to check the spread of the virus, he said, 'I alone can't do anything as a captain, concerted efforts put in by the team will help us achieve our goal.' While the cases have come down from a daily average of around 9,000 to 6,947 on May 17, the situation continues to be grim with many people still dying, mainly because they are seeking medical intervention too late, he said.

This, he said, was evident from the fact that there was 64 per cent occupancy at level 2 (moderate illness) beds and 85 per cent at level 3 (severe illness). 'Had these people sought medical aid at an initial stage, several precious lives could have been saved,' the chief minister added.

He said home isolation patients are also being given food kits comprising 10 kg atta, 2 kg chana, 2 kg sugar for each member of the family, in addition to 10 kg atta being provided by Government of India. PTI VSD CHS AAR AAR

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