CHANDIGARH: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday emphasized the need for 100% testing in the micro containment and containment zones using Rapid Antigen Tests to keep the further spread of COVID-19 under check.

Reviewing the prevalent Covid situation across the state, the Chief Minister asked the Deputy Commissioners, Commissioners of Police, SSPs and Civil Surgeons to go for a vigorous contact tracing, of at least 10 contacts of each positive case. He also directed testing of persons with multiple contacts on account of their occupations, such as shop workers, mandi workers, and frontline government employees, within this week, declaring that this should be a “Testing Week”.

The Chief Minister also directed that all the offices, business establishments, industrial units and marriage palaces etc where more than 10 people gather, must appoint ‘Covid Monitors’ to ensure adherence of health and safety protocols meticulously. These Monitors would be responsible to ensure proper hygiene and sanitisation of working places to check the infections from this disease. Captain Amarinder Singh also exhorted the people who have recovered from this disease to generously donate plasma in the designated plasma banks at Government Medical Colleges of Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot to treat the patients infected with Coronavirus.

Showing deep concern over the general perception amongst the public about the stigma attached to Coronavirus, Captain Amarinder Singh asked the Chief Secretary to direct Public Relations department to launch a vigorous publicity campaign to bring awareness amongst the people about the significance of corona testing as at present people were shying away from getting tested due to this stigma. Citing his own example, the Chief Minister said that he has no qualms for such stigma as he would gladly share his video of getting tested on various social media platforms to instill confidence amongst the people about testing which was of paramount importance especially during the recent spike.

Earlier interacting with the Deputy Commissioners, Police Commissioners, SSPs and Civil Surgeons of four worst corona hit districts viz. Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar, the Chief Minister asked these officers to divide the districts into sectors to keep a strict vigil over the Covid situation by ramping up 100% testing, surveillance and contact tracing. Each Sector would be supervised by a joint team comprising of civil and police officers of gazetted rank, who would ensure the completion of above tasks in a time bound manner. He also underscored the need to intensify the efforts to launch testing on war footing especially within the old walled areas of these cities, where most of such cases remain untraced.

Updating the Chief Minister Health & Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu underlined the need to boost the capacity building in Gian Sagar Hospital and Civil Hospital Mohali to cope up with the rapidly rising cases of Covid on daily basis. Making a brief presentation to apprise the Chief Minister about the current Covid situation, the Health Advisor Dr. KK Talwar said that by and large all the Medical Colleges and Government hospitals are fully equipped with robust medical infrastructure and trained doctors and paramedics to overcome any unforeseen exigency amid spurt in the Covid cases in near future.

Taking part in the deliberations, DGP Dinkar Gupta urged the Chief Minister to request the religious leaders like Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and other heads of the religious organizations to appeal to the people to strictly follow the guidelines of Health Department to protect themselves and their loved ones from this deadly virus. He also pointed out that a coordinated approach should be followed by involving all the departments to tackle the further spread of Covid pandemic by intensifying Rapid Antigen Testing in containment zones and contact tracing. Gupta also further said that the entire Police was working day and night to enforce Covid restrictions and generally people are now following them.

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