Punjab imposes lockdown-like curbs till May 15; check out what’s allowed, what’s not


Under its latest lockdown strategy, the Punjab government has announced that those entering the state via air, rail or road will now be required to furnish a Covid-19 negative report till May 15. The state government has also ordered the closure of cinema halls, bars, and gyms as part of Covid-19 restriction measures. The state government has also prohibited dine-in restaurants as part of the added curbs announced to control the rising number of Covid-19 graphs in the state. Notably, the state government already has imposed a night curfew in the state from 6 pm till 5 am on weekdays and weekend lockdown from 6 pm on Friday till 5 am on Monday.

The Punjab home department, while issuing these directions to all deputy commissioners and district police chiefs, said all shops selling non-essential items will remain closed in the state till May 15. Shops selling essential items, including medicines, milk, bred, vegetable, fruits, dairy and poultry items, will be allowed to function so that people don’t face any inconvenience, NDTV reported.

On the vehicular movement, the state government has announced that not more than two people will be allowed to travel in a car at a time. No pillion rider will be allowed on scooter or bike, except for those belonging to the same family.

All government offices and banks will remain operational under 50 percent staff capacity, while there will be no curbs on those involved in Covid-19 management. The state government has also authorised deputy commissioners to draft services of any official on Covid duty.

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For weddings, cremations and funerals, not more than 10 people will be allowed at a time. Religious places have been kept open but they’ll have to close at 6 pm everyday. The government has issued strict instructions to religious places to avoid overcrowding.

The state government is also running a campaign to conduct RTPCR-testing of street vendors, and they have been directed to ensure social distancing at places like mandis or vegetable markets. There is a total ban on political gathering as well. The state government has also made an appeal to all the farmer unions and religious leaders to not hold any social gathering amid rising number of cases.

Buses carrying passengers can’t fill buses at more than 50 per cent capacity. All education institutions will be closed but teaching and non-teaching staff should attend duty, says the order. All private offices, however, have been told to work from home only. The government has formed a strategy to set up small containment zones in areas seeing higher numbers of Covid-19 cases. It has decided to postpone all recruitment exams until further orders.

The state government has also said that action will be taken against all those who’ll be found hoarding oxygen. No government functions, including inauguration and laying of foundation, will be allowed during the lockdown period. However, these functions can only be held after the permission of the deputy commissioner.

A record single-day spike of 157 COVID-19 fatalities and 7,327 new cases pushed Punjab’s death toll due to the disease to 9,317 and infection tally to 3,85,270, according to a medical bulletin said on Sunday. With this, the number of active cases rose to 60,108 from 58,229. Of the new fatalities, 18 deaths were recorded in Bathinda, 17 in Ludhiana, 15 in Amritsar, 12 in Sangrur and 11 in Gurdaspur, the bulletin said.