The News Scroll 16 March 2020  Last Updated at 6:06 pm | Source: PTI

''Punjab shifts to higher gear to combat corona threat''

''Punjab shifts to higher gear to combat corona threat''
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Chandigarh, Mar 16 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday took stock of the state-wide preparedness and measures to tackle the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus virus, an official statement said.

Singh took stock of situation in a Cabinet meeting during which it gave an ex-post facto approval to the chief minister''s earlier decision to extend the services of retiring government doctors and paramedical staffers till September 30 this year amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.

The chief minister extended the services of medical professionals barely weeks after cutting down state employees'' retirement age from 60 to 58.

After the meeting, the chief minister appealed to the people not to panic over the coronavirus outbreak and resort to all possible precautions, including avoiding crowded places, sticking to the frequent hand-washing discipline and observing sneezing and coughing etiquettes.

Shifting to a higher gear to combat corona threat, the Punjab government, besides extending the services of retiring medical professionals, also decided to contact unemployed MBBS degree holders and ask them to stand by on voluntary basis to fight the malady .

Amid all government and private schools and colleges ordered closed till March 31, the Cabinet also approved a decision for senior medical students to keep reporting to their colleges, which have been kept open, and pitch in to support other medical and health workers, the statement said.

With all large public gatherings, including sports, conferences, cultural events, fairs and exhibitions prohibited till further orders since March 14 midnight, Chief Minister Singh also appealed to dera heads to limit religious gatherings and educate their followers about the coronavirus outbreak and precautions.

With all cinema halls, gyms and swimming pools ordered shut since March 14, the Cabinet, however, left the decision on closure of malls and marriage palaces to a seven-member group of ministers, set up earlier under the chairmanship of Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra to oversee the preventive measures undertaken to combat the corona threat.

The Cabinet also appealed to the people to either defer their wedding functions or limit the number of guests to less than 50, the spokesperson said.

The Cabinet was also apprised of the situation on the virus outbreak in the state and was told that the number positive coronavirus cases till now has stayed put at one, limited to an Italy-returned Hoshiarpur native, who is presently admitted to a government hospital in Amritsar and whose condition is stable, the spokesperson added.

The Cabinet was informed that a total of 100 samples had been sent for testing till date, of which only one was found positive and 95 negative for COVID-19, while the results of four samples were still awaited.

The Cabinet was also apprised that a total of 91,689 passengers have been screened till date at international airports at Amritsar and Mohali and international check posts at Wagah Border and Kartarpur corridor.

Out of eight symptomatic passengers found during screening at these sites, one was positive and all others were tested negative at Government Medical College, Amritsar.

Further, the people have been advised to avoid non-essential travels, said the Cabinet resolution passed on Monday.

It also advised people having cough, sneezing and fever to immediately contact at 104, the Medical Helpline of the Health and Family Welfare Department or the Control Rooms of their respective districts and get themselves tested to rule out chances of their having been infected.

During the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Singh asked all ministers to closely monitor the situation and ensure the implementation of the curbs in their respective districts in close coordination with the administrative and civic officials.

He also urged them to hold regular meetings with the local administration to maintain visibility in their districts and boost people''s confidence.

The chief minister also directed the Health Department officials to ensure that sufficient ventilators are available in all district hospitals to deal with any exigency.

He further ordered private and state-run buses to carry hand sanitiser for the use of passengers to ensure hygiene in vehicles and secure travellers.

During its meeting, the Cabinet was also informed that the districts'' deputy commissioners were geared up to launch house-to-house awareness campaign involving all health workers, who are being trained for the purpose from March 19 to 26.

Training of all staffers of all departments in districts will be completed by March 18, 2020, Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Anurag Aggarwal told the Cabinet through a detailed presentation. PTI VSD RAX RAX RAX

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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