Punjab DGP warns against spreading fake news

Wednesday 25th March 2020 05:53 EDT

Chandigarh: Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta has warned that those found guilty of spreading rumours and fake news about COVID-19 pandemic would be penalised and dealt with under the relevant provisions of the law. In an advisor, the DGP warned people against spreading baseless rumours and falsehood, with a series of dos and don’ts against using mobile phones and social media platforms to spread mischievous and unsubstantiated information, which could create unnecessary panic and hardship to all around.

These are tools that help keep everyone connected and informed, he said, warning people against just sending forwards, or posting/spreading fake news. Gupta requested the general public not to create panic/unrest through malicious forwards and social media posts. Pointing out that COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone of us, Gupta said it impacted our daily lives and affected our livelihoods. The virus can be devastating for our families, our friends and our communities, he warned, adding that the safety and welfare of each one of our family members, our colleagues and everyone around us is of paramount importance, with the authorities doing their best to battle the problem.

Punjab shuts bus services

As a preventive step, the Punjab government has decided to discontinue public transport buses in the state. Accordingly, buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos will not be allowed to ply in the state. The decision was taken by a group of ministers who met to review the state's preparedness to counter the coronavirus pandemic. It also decided to limit public gatherings to 20 people.

The state has reported two positive coronavirus cases so far. One person, with travel history to Germany and Italy, had died and test reports confirmed that the deceased was infected by the dreaded virus. The other positive case has been admitted to a hospital in Amritsar. The state's capital, Chandigarh, also reported its first positive case last week.

Taxis and rickshaws have been exempted from the ban. All public dealings in government offices have been called off with immediate effect. It was also decided to not allow public gatherings of more than 20 persons. Organisers of functions have been advised to adhere to hand washing protocol and proper cleanliness. Hotels, marriage palaces, outdoor and indoor dining and banquet halls will also remain closed. The government has allowed home delivery service and takeaways.

It was also decided to increase the number of isolation wards set at different public, private hospitals and medical institutions and to strengthen the services by ensuring availability of medical and para medical staff and adequate stock of medicines. Routine OPD services in hospitals have also been deferred but emergency services at all hospitals and PHCs will continue 24X7. It was also decided to close all dental colleges and hospitals with immediate effect till March 31. The classes of first and second year students in medical colleges have been deferred while those of third and fourth year students would continue.

The classes of first year students in nursing colleges have been called off till March 31, but classes of nursing students from second year would continue. In case any eventuality the students of medical colleges in first and fourth year are being given first hand training sessions to tackle with Covid-19 patients.

Home quarantine protocol for all the NRIs, passengers who came from any country in last 15 days will be strictly enforced and they will remain in isolation at their homes up to 14 days. It has also been decided to do mandatory stamping with indelible ink of all such NRIs and passengers in a bid to identify them in case they go out.

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