After Nizamuddin incident, Punjab prohibits all gatherings

Chandigarh, April 2 (IANS) Taking a tough stand in the light of Delhi’s Nizamuddin incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday prohibited all gatherings, including religious, and said the state would impose a total ban on all congregations, irrespective of the religion involved.

He would personally talk to the acting Jathedar of the Akal Takht, said the Chief Minister, while directing the Chief Secretary to discuss the matter with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in view of the upcoming Baisakhi festival.

The Chief Minister also ordered 21 days of quarantine for all those who had returned to the state from Nizamuddin in Delhi since January and asked the police and administrative officials to move aggressively to track, trace and isolate all such people.

He directed the police and health department to constitute special teams to track and follow up on those who had returned to Punjab from Nizamuddin.

Amarinder Singh was discussing and reviewing the current situation through a video conference with Deputy Commissioners and other senior officials of the civil administration and police department.

According to Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta, some 200 persons from Punjab had visited Nizamuddin and returned here, at different times, with 12 districts believed to be affected.

They were being tracked, along with some from others states who had arrived in Punjab for Tabligh Jamaat work.

The Health Department was debriefing and contact-tracing them, though, so far, no corona confirmed cases had come to light.

Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Anurag Aggarwal informed the Chief Minister that the department had so far received a list of 125 of these persons, of whom 73 had been tracked and samples collected in 25 cases some of whom had come to Mansa as on March 19.

As a precautionary measure, all of them had been placed in quarantine, he added.

The Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala told the Chief Minister that 31 people who had returned from Nizamuddin had been quarantined though they had been found to be asymptomatic so far.

In Patiala, too, 29 of them had been quarantined but there were no symptoms shown by them.

On a suggestion from the DGP, Amarinder Singh ordered quarantining of the Pakistani nationals who were in Amritsar, saying the state could not afford to take any chances at this critical juncture.

The Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar said Pakistan had given permission to allow entry of four of its citizens who had come from Delhi, of whom three had tested positive.

The BSF and immigration staff who handled them had been quarantined, he said, but added that there were a few more Pakistanis still stuck in Amritsar.

The Chief Minister inquired about the steps being taken to protect and provide for the migrants who are stranded in Punjab due to the sealing of the borders and other restrictions.

In the worst affected Mohali district, the Jagatpura area near Chandigarh has been totally sealed off after confirmation of Covid-19 outbreak, with mass sampling being done in this and Nayagaon area, according to the Civil Surgeon.