Chandigarh: Imposing stricter restrictions to check the spread of Covid-19, the Punjab Government banned the entry of persons from outside the state by air, rail or road without negative Covid report not more than 72 hours old or vaccination certificate of at least one dose over two weeks old.
Within the state, all government offices as well as banks would work with 50 per cent staff and not more than two persons would be allowed to travel in cars and taxis and restrictions have been imposed on pillion riding on scooters and motorcycles. The public transport would run at 50 per cent of the capacity.
Restrictions on gatherings at weddings and funerals have been brought to 10 and villages have been asked to organise vigil during night and weekend curfew. There is no change in the lockdown restrictions from 6 pm to 6 am on weekdays and a weekend lockdown from 6 pm on Friday until 5 am on Monday.
All shops selling non-essential items would remain closed till May 15. The shops dealing with essential goods like milk, bread, vegetables, fruits, dairy and poultry and mobile repair would continue to remain open. RT- PCR testing of the street vendors will be done. The government has already ordered closing of bars, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, coaching centres and educational institutions. Dine in at restaurants has been banned and take away has been allowed till 9 pm. The restrictions will be effective till May 15.
Punjab recorded 7,041 fresh cases of the infection along with 138 deaths. With this, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state reached 3,77,990, while the total number of active cases are 58,229. The maximum number of cases were recorded in Ludhiana (1,600), followed by SAS Nagar (936), Bathinda (653), Jalandhar (566) and Patiala (562).
More oxygen cylinders sought
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the Centre for more oxygen tankers to be made available to the state, which did not have enough tankers to transport the critical commodity for saving lives of seriously ill Covid patients. The Chief Minister, at the Covid review meeting, said the state urgently need more tankers, as it currently had only 15 at its disposal, with two more likely to come. These, he said, were not enough to handle the requirement for transporting the oxygen supplies coming in from other states.
Punjab has a 195 MT allocation from various plants in other states, but the actual supply received over the past 7 days has been around 110-120 MT daily, which has also been erratic, the Chief Minister noted. In this period, the number of patients on oxygen support has gone up from 4,000 to around 9,000, and though the state government’s steps to monitor and streamline supplies through its controls rooms has helped in keeping things stable, the situation remains fluid and a matter of concern, he added. The current consumption of oxygen in the state is more than 225 MT daily, while the average increase in demand every day is around 15-20%.