Fresh coronavirus restrictions in Punjab as cases rise; schools shut, night curfew in 11 districts


Guwahati: Clamping down heavily on the fresh Covid surge, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered massive state-wide restrictions beginning tomorrow, with the closure of educational institutions till March 31 and restrictions on cinema/mall capacities.

All educational institutions, other than medical and nursing colleges, will remain closed till March 31, with a restriction of 50 per cent capacity in cinema halls and not more than 100 persons in a mall at any time. The CM appealed to the people to keep social activity in their houses to the bare minimum for the next 2 weeks to break the transmission chain. Not more than 10 visitors should be entertained in homes, he urged.

Strict restrictions in 11 worst-hit districts

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 9 pm to 5 am, the Chief Minister has ordered cinemas, multiplexes, restaurants, malls etc to remain closed on Sundays, though home deliveries will be allowed, subject to the night curfew.

Industries and essential services shall be allowed to function, but barring these, all restrictions shall be strictly enforced, the Chief Minister directed the top civic and police officials in these districts.

In the 11 worst affected districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Moga, the Chief Minister ordered restrictions on in-person public dealings in government offices, with citizens to be encouraged to visit offices only for essential services. Captain Amarinder directed officials to encourage online and virtual modes for grievance redressal, and asked concerned departments to issue necessary instructions for limiting appointments per day for registries etc.

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 the Covid Task Force with top officials.