CHANDIGARH: In the wake of the fresh Covid surge, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered state-wide restrictions beginning Saturday, with closure of educational institutions till March 31 and restrictions on cinema and mall capacities.
All educational institutions, other than medical and nursing colleges, will remain closed till March 31.
Cinema halls will run with a restriction of 50% capacity and not more than 100 persons will be allowed in a mall at any time.
He appealed to the people to keep social activity in their houses to the bare minimum for the next two weeks to break the transmission chain.
Not more than 10 visitors should be entertained in homes, he urged.
In the 11 worst-hit districts, a complete ban has been ordered on all social gatherings and related functions, except for funerals/cremations/ weddings, which will be allowed with only 20 persons in attendance. This will be enforced from Sunday.
In these districts, which will remain under night curfew from 9pm to 5am, the chief minister has ordered cinemas, multiplexes, restaurants, malls etc. to remain closed on Sundays, though home deliveries will be allowed subject to night curfew.
Industries and essential services shall be allowed to function, but barring these, all restrictions will be strictly enforced.
Also, starting next week, one hour of silence will be observed across the state every Saturday, from 11am to 12 noon, in memory of those who lost their lives to Covid-19, with no vehicle to ply at this time.
Amarinder Singh asked the district administration to involve the general public, along with market committees, sarpanches etc., in this initiative, which will, however, remain voluntary for them.
In the 11 worst-affected districts of Ludhiana, Patiala , Mohali, Amritsar , Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehghar Sahib , Ropar and Moga, Amarinder ordered restrictions on in-person public dealings in government offices, with citizens to be encouraged to visit offices only for essential services.
Though other districts will not be placed under such stringent restrictions for now, the chief minister ordered immediate reinforcement and strict monitoring of the strategy of micro-containment and containment zones where there are evident clusters.
He made it clear that if necessary, strict curbs will also be imposed in other districts if the situation worsens and Covid protocols and norms are not adhered to be by the people.
The situation will be reviewed after two weeks, said the chief minister, chairing a meeting of Covid task force with top officials.