Punjab, one of the key states where the Covid graph is showing an upward movement, has declared a series of restrictions including night curfew across the whole state -- up from the earlier 12 districts -- from 9 pm to 5 am. The state has also declared a ban on political, social, cultural or sports gatherings. A cap has also been put on attendance at funerals, weddings and cremations. Only 50 people can attend indoor functions, and 100 for outdoors.
Masks have been made compulsory for employees in government offices.
These restrictions, along with the others imposed earlier -- which include closure of schools and educational institutions -- will be in place till April 30, read a communique from the Chief Minister's Office. This would also include restrictions on running cinema houses at 50 per cent capacity. Entry of 10 people per shop at malls at any point has been allowed -- a slight relaxation from the 100 people allowed in a mall at one time.
In his weekly review of the Covid situation, Amarinder Singh has expressed concern over the high positivity and mortality rates in the state. "Over 85 per cent cases in Punjab are of the UK strain, which is more contagious and virulent," the Chief Minister has said.
Expressing surprise at the behaviour of leaders of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party, Mr Singh has said that action will be taken against anyone, including political leaders, who violate the ban on gatherings.
Punjab has been one of the three states where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a Central team to visit.
Punjab has contributed 4.5 per cent of the number of cases in the country and 16.3 per cent of the deaths in the last 14 days, the Prime Minister's Office said on Sunday. At a meeting with senior officials, PM Modi had called it a matter of "serious concern".