Punjab orders fresh curbs on gatherings as COVID-19 cases rise

Chandigarh, Feb 23 (PTI): The Punjab government on Tuesday ordered curbs on both indoor and outdoor gatherings from March 1 and authorised deputy commissioners (DCs) to impose night-curfew in COVID-19 hotspots in their districts if needed.
Chairing a virtual review meeting of the COVID-19 situation in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh issued orders to limit indoor gatherings to 100 people and outdoor events to 200 attendees from March 1, an official statement said.
He also directed that face masks and social distancing norms be strictly enforced, it said.
The move comes amid growing concerns over an upswing in the number of coronavirus cases in the state.
Singh authorised DCs to adopt micro-containment strategies and impose night-curfews in COVID-19 hotspots if needed, and directed the police to ensure that people wear masks.
The chief minister said a decision on reducing occupancy in cinema halls will be taken after March 1.
Private offices and restaurants will be encouraged to display last COVID-19 tests done for all employees, he added.
Punjab is among five states that have been asked by the Centre to refocus on strict surveillance, containment and RT-PCR testing to check the growing number of cases. The other four states are Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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Closure of borders by Karnataka: Ker CM seeks PM’s intervention
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 23 (PTI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday requested the urgent intervention of the Centre on the new COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Karnataka government on the entry of people from the state.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said many people including students, trucks carrying essential commoditiesand patients going for medical treatment were put to “undue hardship” at the state borders due to this.
He also brought to the PM’s notice that imposing restrictions of inter-state movement of people by states is contrary to the instructions of the government of India.
“I request your urgent intervention in this matter so that hardship of people from Kerala travelling to the neighbouring state of Karnataka can be avoided,” Vijayan said.
With the Karnataka government reinstating stricter control of transit passengers from Kerala in view of increasing COVID-19 positive cases, people bound to Mangaluru and other parts of Dakshina Kannada from here for various purposes, including medical needs and studies, were in a fix.
Long queues of vehicles could be seen in the border areas since Monday as Karnataka authorities sealed many roads, including national highways and restricted entry only for those with COVID-19 negative certificates.
The Dakshina Kannada authorities sealed all borders from Monday, except four to cross over, sources said.
According to Karnataka officials at the borders,those who wished to enter the state have to produce COVID-19 negative certificates through an RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to their cross over time.
Health and police personnel are on duty at the four borders, viz. Talapady in Mangalore taluk, Saradka in Bantwal, Nettanige-Mudnuru in Puttur taluk and Jalsoor in Sullia, to verify and allow people’s entry into Karnataka.

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