Skill development centres and universities have also been allowed to open conditional to the staff and students having taken at least one dose of vaccine. IELTS coaching institutes were already allowed to be opened, subject to students and staff having taken at least one dose of vaccine.
Announcing the relaxations at the Covid review meeting, the chief minister made it clear that the bars, pubs and ahatas would have to strictly maintain social distancing protocols, and waiters and other employees should have taken at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. He made it clear that it would be the responsibility of the owners to ensure that the conditions are met.
With cases of #Covid19 #DeltaPlusVariant coming to light, #Punjab CM #captainamarindersingh on Tuesday ordered exte… https://t.co/NfqZ0NZgKE
— TOIChandigarh (@TOIChandigarh) 1624963066000
Expressing satisfaction over the decline in positivity to less than 1%, with overall fall in active cases, the chief minister said that the positivity rate in some districts still remained over 1%. Further, the finding of Delta plus variant was a matter of concern, making it essential to continue with the curbs, he stressed.
The month wise whole genome sequencing has shown that more than 90% is a variant of concern, with the original virus having been practically replaced by variants, said the CM. Two cases (Ludhiana and Patiala) have shown Delta plus variant, while in May and June, the Delta variant was most prevalent, he pointed out.
Of the 198 contacts of the Ludhiana patient traced and tested, one was found positive and the sample has been sent for genome sequencing, while in the Patiala case, for which the genome sequencing report was received on June 26, the process of tracing/testing is going on. Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said Delta plus variant was found in samples sent by the state govt in May, whose results were given by GOI labs recently.
Amarinder ordered fast tracking of the establishment of a Whole Genome Sequencing Lab at GMCH Patiala, in association with the international non-profit organisation PATH, to make it operational by July. He also ordered intensification of genome sequences of cases reported from clusters in limited geographical, institutional or superspreader event areas to check the spread of the potential third wave.
Health minister Balbir Sidhu suggested a close watch on visitors from countries reporting Delta Plus variant cases.
Health adviser Dr KK Talwar told the meeting that it was very difficult to predict the third wave due to mutation, with the Delta Plus variant already reported from 12 countries and 52 cases in Maharashtra. Urging extreme caution, he said it was necessary to see how the mutant behaves. As of now, the existing vaccines were showing effectiveness against the present variants, he said.
On the Black Fungus (Mucormycosis), the CM noted that Punjab has had much fewer cases than most other states, including Haryana, and Delhi, which not only saw more cases but more than three times the deaths in Punjab. The Chief Minister, however, said it was unfortunate that 51 people had died due to black fungus in the state.