New Delhi: The Punjab government on Monday (April 19) announced stricter measures including the extension of night curfew by an hour and closure of public spaces like bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres and sports complexes in the wake of the worrying surge in COVID-19 cases.
The new restrictions will come into force from Tuesday in which curfew timing will now start from 8 pm and last till 5 am, instead of the earlier 9 pm to 5 am.
The government also directed the closure of all malls, shops and markets on Sundays, coupled with the ones imposed earlier, which will remain in effect till April 30, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said after a COVID-19 review meeting here.
Restaurants and hotels will remain open but only for takeaway and home delivery from Monday to Saturday.
Meanwhile, the state government has also banned gatherings of 20 people, including weddings and cremations.
“Prior approval of the district administration is needed for all gatherings of more than 10 persons, except for cremation,” a government statement said here.
In order to increase COVID-19 testing, the prices of RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) by private labs have been reduced to Rs 450 and Rs 300 respectively (with additional charges for home collection), the statement added.
People entering Punjab also have to carry negative RT-PCR test not older than 72 hours. Otherwise, they would have to undergo RAT testing at the airports.
The Punjab CM also instructed that people who have attended large gatherings anywhere (religious/ political/social) be mandatorily home-quarantined for five days and tested as per existing protocols.
The chief minister directed the transport department to restrict the number of passengers in buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws to 50 per cent of the vehicle’s capacity.
Mohali district, along with the rest of the tri-city, will remain under complete lockdown on Wednesday on the occasion of Ram Navami, to avoid gatherings amid surging COVID-19 cases in the region, Singh said.
(With PTI inputs)