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Punjab to relax lockdown measures from 20 April & declare more goods as essential

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File image of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh | Photo: ANI
File image of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh | Photo: ANI


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Chandigarh: Sand and gravel mining and stone crushing have been permitted as part of the construction-related activities in Punjab from Monday, according to the state home department.

Also in view of the new academic session, shops dealing in distribution of books to school and college students have also been allowed to operate, as per an official release here.

In view of approaching summer season, the sale of air-conditioners, air-coolers, fans and their repair shops have also been brought under ambit of essential goods or services and have been allowed to remain open and operate.

In line with the Centre’s guidelines, industrial activity is allowed in the state’s rural areas, provided that the operators of industries, employing ten or more persons, should make all arrangements for the stay or transport of workers.

‘Dhabas’ have also been allowed to remain open but they will serve only packed food, the statement said.

However, any activity in the containment zones would continue to be banned, it said.

The state government has authorised the District Magistrates to exercise due diligence in regulating timings of various establishments including industries and other permitted activity depending upon local requirements and norms of social distancing, the release said.

These directions have been issued for the implementation of the government of India’s revised COVID-19 containment guidelines.

Mohali, Jalandhar, SBS Nagar and Pathankot districts have been declared as coronavirus hotspots in Punjab.

According to instructions issued to all the Deputy Commissioners by the state home department, construction-related activities like stone crushers, sand and gravel mining have been permitted.

Even though it is not specifically mentioned in the (Centre’s) guidelines, it is implied that the related activities in terms of stone crushers, mining of sand and gravel and its transport, sale outlets of cement, steel etc, are also to be permitted. Their working norms can be regulated, as per instructions.

The Centre in its revised guidelines to states for containment of COVID-19 has allowed construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings, water supply and sanitation, renewable energy projects, continuation of works in construction projects within the municipal limits.

A Punjab government release said that it was decided that state would follow complete curfew till May 3 and the prevailing practice of requiring a curfew pass for movement during curfew shall continue.

The release further said the rule for setting up a containment zone is the discovery of two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a locality.

The zone is to be set-up by district authorities based on the number of cases, their geographical distribution and feasibility of sealing the area, it further said.

The containment zone can accordingly be starting from a locality to a colony, sector(village), single or multiple wards or the entire city itself, the release further said.


Also read: Punjab announces community testing of anyone with breathing trouble in Covid-19 hotspots


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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