Sawinder kaur , Chandigarh:

Stepping up its fight against COVID, the Punjab government has put a complete bar on all public gatherings, while restricting social gatherings to five and marriages/other social functions to 30 instead of the current 50.

These are part of the revised guidelines issued today in line with the announcement made on Sunday by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Mandatory FIRs shall be filed against those found violating the curb on public gatherings, which now stand strictly disallowed. A detailed notification issued by the government says joint teams of police and civil administration shall strictly enforce the restrictions on social gatherings (restricted to 5 under section 144 imposed in all districts) as well as weddings and social functions. The management of Marriage Palaces/ Hotels shall be held responsible and shall face suspension of licence in case of violation of norms. Further, the Management of Marriage Palaces/ Hotels/ other commercial spaces will have to certify that adequate arrangements for ventilation of indoor spaces have been made.

The state government has also partnered with IIT Chennai experts to intensify surveillance, using technology in order to identify super-spreader gatherings in the past that have resulted in spread, to guide future action.

Wearing of masks has been made compulsory in work places/offices/ closed places, as per the new guidelines, with also directs strict enforcement of the Health Department advisory on Air Conditioning and ventilation/air circulation. Public dealing in offices may be curtailed to cater to need based and urgent issues, according to the guidelines, which provide that the online Public Grievance Redressal System recently approved by the Cabinet should be extensively popularized and used.

There shall be no physical presentation of demand charters by Associations etc, serving of tea, etc. has to be avoided, as are physical meetings of more than 5 persons, at the workplace, as per the revised management and containment strategy for COVID.

To ensure optimum utilisation of Health Infrastructure, asymptomatic/ mildly symptomatic persons with no comorbidities/ vulnerabilities will have to be in COVID Care Centres/Home Isolation where applicable. Beds in Level 2 and 3 facilities will not be used to cater to such patients. Further, a person in a Level 2 or 3 facility who no longer needs this facility must be referred by way of reverse referral to a lower level treatment facility.

The state government has also clarified that the MoU with Private Healthcare Facilities does not mean blocking of beds for patients referred by the government at a later stage, it only provides the charges payable by Govt to its referred patients.

DCs/CPs/SSPs have been mandated to ensure that all hospitals that can undertake care of COVID positive patients have supplied information on their beds availability and are not denying treatment to COVID positive patients.

Cognisant of the risk of water-borne diseases during the monsoon, the state government has also decided on a sanitation drive, to be undertaken by both urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions on campaign basis, for the prevention of dengue/vector borne diseases.