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COVID-19: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Orders To Maintain Testing At 30,000 A Day

CHANDIGARH – Amid projections of a second coronavirus wave hitting Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the Health and Medical Education Departments to maintain levels of testing at 30,000 a day.

He also ordered amendment in rules to enable direct recruitment of super specialist doctors to meet the shortfall of the medical staff.

Chairing a high-level virtual meeting to review the pandemic situation in the state, the CM asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to work on amending the rules for ensuring direct recruitment in super speciality departments to prevent weakening of response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chief minister directed the departments concerned to ensure that at least 25,000 RT-PCR and 5,000 Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are conducted every day, according to a release.

“The current decline in cases, notwithstanding, the situation remains grim with a second wave expected to hit the state,” he said, stressing the need to strictly follow all safety protocols.

He directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to crack down on those not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing norms.

The CM underlined the need to focus on potential super spreaders.

The government employees must be tested routinely and with schools and colleges opening up, it is important to make proper schedules and enhance the number of mobile teams for testing, he said.

Expressing concern over the high mortality rate in the state, the chief minister asked the medical experts team headed by Dr K K Talwar to evolve effective strategies to tackle the problem.

While overall number of cases had declined in the state, 11 districts have shown increase in positivity rate in the past four weeks.

The districts where the positivity rate has increased are Rupnagar, Bathinda, SAS Nagar, Faridkot, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mansa, Amritsar, Moga, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Sangrur.

Currently, 1,600 patients are in home isolation in the state, the statement said.

D K Tiwari, Secretary, Medical Education and Research, said the positivity rate in Punjab had remained below two per cent since October 11.

In terms of deaths, those over 60 years of age constituted about 35 per cent of total deceased while those with co-morbid conditions were 82.4 per cent of the total deaths reported from November 1 to 7, he said.

As on Tuesday, the count of coronavirus cases in the state is 1,38,485 with the death toll at 4,358.

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