Punjab lockdown extended: This decision comes at a time when Punjab is seeing a rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases that has already cross the 100 mark in the state.
The government said the lockdown has been extended because there are apprehensions of community spread of Covid-19.
“The decision was taken at a meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, to check community spread of the coronavirus pandemic and to prevent overcrowding at the Mandis in the light of the ensuing wheat harvesting/procurement season,” the government said in a press statement.
It said Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will communicate the decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the chief ministers’ virtual conference on Saturday.
“Citing the grim projections about the spread of the pandemic in the coming weeks, the Chief Minister said the curfew restrictions were essential so that the medical infrastructure is not burdened beyond its capabilities. There was general consensus in the medical community that the lockdown curbs would only delay the spread of the disease, he said, hoping that some medication/cure would be found soon,” the statement said.
The government has also decided to set up a multi-disciplinary task force to formulate an exit strategy for gradual relaxation of curfew/lockdown. The task force will submit its report within 10 days. The task force will have about 15 members representing trade, business, industry, agriculture, civil society and health care professionals.
Besides this, the state cabinet also approved establishment of a high-powered committee to suggest a road map for state’s economic revival in post-Covid-19 era once the crisis softens and normal working is restored.
Captain Amarinder Singh said he will request former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Ahluwalia to head the committee.
The Council Ministers also resolved to urge upon Government of India to establish an Advance Center of Virology in Punjab with an anticipated investment of Rs 500 crore, with the state government to offer land free of cost for the project.