Chandigarh [India], Aug 20 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered a series of emergency measures, including the extension of weekend lockdown with daily night curfew from 7 pm to 5 am in all the 167 cities/towns in the state from Friday.
He has also ordered a total ban on all gatherings except weddings and funerals across the state till August 31.
The Chief Minister directed Director-General of Police (DGP), Dinkar Gupta, to strictly enforce compliance of rules with regard to the number of persons allowed to attend weddings and funerals, and also to ensure the total ban on political gatherings till August 31, when the situation will be reviewed.
He also asked the DGP to crack the whip on all political protests and gatherings, and asked his own party, Punjab Congress, leadership to enforce the ban strictly.
"Enough is enough," said Captain Amarinder, adding that "we need to be tough without affecting the state's economic activity."
Pointing to the 920 COVID deaths reported in the state so far, he said "each death pains me, and the projections for the coming weeks are grim."
Government and private offices will work at 50 per cent capacity till the end of this month, as per the directives issued by the Chief Minister during a video conference meeting with top officials to review the COVID situation in the state, which is witnessing a massive increase in daily cases and an increase in deaths.
Punjab Chief Minister also directed the concerned officials to restrict public visitors in government officials and to encourage the use of the online grievance redressal system, which has been significantly strengthened by the state government to minimise in-person contact with hassle-free online engagement.
In the five worst-affected districts of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and SAS Nagar (Mohali), restrictions on vehicular capacity have been imposed again, with buses and other public transport to operate with 50 per cent capacity and private four-wheelers not allowed to carry more than three passengers per vehicle.
The Chief Minister has also directed the DCs in these five districts to allow only 50 per cent of the non-essential shops to open on a daily basis to check crowding.
These five districts are currently accounting for 80 per cent of the active caseload in the state.
The Chief Minister said the state was in a "health emergency" situation, necessitating harsh measures, which might have to be further intensified in the coming days to curb the COVID spread.
Though the cases were currently concentrated mainly in urban areas, rural areas were also witnessing an increase, he said, adding that if needed, travel restrictions may have to be imposed. (ANI)