Excercise extreme caution owing to new mutant strain: Amarinder



Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged the people to exercise extreme caution and strictly follow all the Covid-19 safety norms amid reports of a new strain of the virus spreading in some parts of the world.

Pointing out that even those who recover from Covid suffer long-term after effects, including weakness, the Chief Minister said that while the spread of the pandemic in the state may have slowed down for now, the crisis is not over yet.

The last flight that landed in Amritsar from the UK on Tuesday had reported eight positive cases, he said, hoping that the new strain of the virus had not entered Punjab.

During his #AskCaptain Facebook Live telecast, the Chief Minister hoped that there would be no resurgence of cases, nor spread of the new strain, in the state, which added over 200 Covid cases besides reporting 18 deaths on Tuesday.

Pointing out that several of his colleagues and officials had tested positive due to their bigger exposure to the people, Amarinder Singh urged all to strictly adhere to wearing of masks and maintaining social distance in order to save themselves, their families and the state.

The Chief Minister disclosed that the state is currently testing over 30,000 samples every day.

Amarinder Singh said the virus crisis had led to a delay in implementing 50 per cent subsidised fare for women in state-run buses, but the same would be done soon.

In response to a Bathinda resident's question, the Chief Minister said that details of the scheme and documentation had been completed and the scheme would be put in motion soon.

Replying to a Batala resident's question on filling of leftover vacancies to the tune of 42,000, Amarinder Singh said the delay had also been on account of the pandemic.

The next cabinet meeting will approve the recruitments to fill 50,000 vacancies, he added.

Responding to a complaint from a Ferozpur resident about OPDs still not functional in government hospitals of his region, the Chief Minister said that all OPDs had already been ordered to be opened up. He assured the resident that he will get the matter investigated to ensure that the OPDs resume normal operations.

In response to a Ludhiana resident's question on the steps being taken by the government for the urban homeless amid the winter chill, the Chief Minister said he was sending money from his discretionary funds to all the Deputy Commissioners to buy and distribute blankets among such people.

Recalling that his late mother used to go to Patiala to distribute blankets in winters, he urged all Punjabis to pitch in to help the homeless in the harsh winter months.

Amarinder Singh further said that the process of land acquisition and construction of shelter homes is in progress for the urban homeless.

The Chief Minister informed a Ludhiana resident that MBBS course at Mohali will start soon and efforts are on to make the other two new medical colleges operational soon.

The resident had expressed concern over the availability of few MBBS seats in the state.

Regarding the ban on VIP numbers for vehicles, the Chief Minister explained to a Ludhiana resident that such numbers were being misused, with the same number being transferred from one vehicle to another, thus making tracking difficult. - IANS