With number of coronavirus patients reaching 21 in the state, the Punjab government on Sunday ordered a lockdown till March 31 as an emergency measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
However, the essential services will be exempted from the shutdown which will be effective from Monday at 6 am and will remain in force till 9 pm of March 31, a government statement said.
In an official notification, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh ordered shutdown of all establishments to break the transmission chain of the highly contagious coronavirus.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warned of tougher restrictions to check the spread of the deadly infection.
On Sunday, Punjab reported seven more coronavirus cases, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 21, officials said.
Out of total 203 samples, 160 tested negative and reports of 22 people were awaited, they said.
The chief minister appealed to people to avoid leaving their homes unless there is an acute emergency and asked everyone to follow all health safeguards.
The chief secretary said there will be no curfew during the lockdown period but restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC will remain imposed,preventing gathering of more than 10 persons at any given time.
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said extra forces will be deployed in all districts for strict implementation of restrictions.
With all deputy commissioners being directed to ensure implementation of restrictions, the health department official said all persons are required to stay at home, and they may leave home only if necessary or for buying essential service or going for duty.
In his appeal, the chief minister said, "You can play the most vital role in preventing further transmission of the disease by not stepping out.
"During this period, all commercial establishments and shops shall remain closed except those dealing in essential commodities like food, grocery, medicines, etc. All essential services such as water supply, sanitation and electricity shall be maintained. Restrictions on public transport imposed earlier will continue till March 31," he said.
Pointing out that the Covid-19 pandemic had emerged as the foremost global threat, he assured that his government was fully prepared to face the challenge and had taken all possible precautionary measures so far.
"However, we may be required to take more measures including imposing tougher restrictions to save our state and people from any major harm," he said.
The chief minister asked people who have recently returned from abroad to undergo home quarantine and report to the nearest government health facility in case they show symptoms of the infection.
The local community must also assist the administration in enforcing this in larger public interest, he said.
He also urged trade and businesses to not only ensure adequate supplies of essential commodities but also avoid hoarding and profiteering of any kind.
He said a state control room had already been established for ensuring coordination amongst different departments of the state.
Similar control rooms have also been established at all district headquarters.
Among services, departments and shops which have been exempted from the lockdown include electricity, water, banks, ATMs, media, telecom, postal, courier, essential IT services, along with e-commerce, shop selling food, groceries, restaurants/ bakeries, sweet shops, tea shops, eateries for take-away or home delivery only.
Hospitals, chemists, pharma companies, petrol pumps, LPG etc will also be exempted.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)