Districts announced short-term lockdowns to contain infection.

The increasing Covid-19 death toll in Punjab has prompted Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to instruct deputy commissioners (DCs) to work towards bringing the mortality rate down.

Till Sunday evening, 5,216 people had tested positive, of which 133 died — a mortality rate of 2.5 per cent. Between June 1 and 7, eight patients had died and the death toll became 52, which increased by 15 in week 2 (June 9-14) and became 67. In the third week of June, the death toll shot up to 99, with 32 patients passing away between June 15 and 21. In the fourth week of June (22-28), the death toll reached 133 on Sunday with 34 new deaths. Of the total deaths, 90 per cent were due to co-morbidities and 35.1 per cent of the deceased patients were above 60 years of age.

Malerkotla announces lockdown

Deputy Commissioner Sangrur Ramvir on Sunday announced a lockdown in Malerkotla town on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 30 and July 1) as this small town — which has a population of 1.5 lakh — has reported 183 Covid-19 cases and accounts for 10 (in a fortnight) of 12 deaths recorded in Sangrur district. In all, Malerkotla sub-division has reported 231 of the total 428 cases of the district, and 11 of 12 deaths in the sub-division.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) office has also been sealed in Malerkotla after 15 of the 42 employees tested positive. “This office has been closed for public dealing works and the rest of the employees have been home quarantined,” said Deputy Commissioner Sangrur Ramvir. He added, “We will add more containment zones in Malerkotla town area…there are 7 containment areas in the town area. We are concerned about the rising number of cases and casualties in this small town.”

Fatehgarh Sahib district has also announced a lockdown on Monday and Tuesday for Amloh sub-division, in which industrial town Mandi Gobindgarh also falls. Amrit Kaur Gill, Fatehgarh Sahib DC, said, “We have reported 11 cases from Amloh in the past 2-3 days and hence we decided to impose weekend lockdown after discussing with industrial associations. There is heavy truck movement in Mandi Gobindgarh from other parts of India and we observed that many migrants are also coming via these trucks unofficially. Hence, we need to check them.” Amloh area does not have any ICU or ventilator facilities.

Similar is the case with Gidderbaha town, which is observing 3 days’ lockdown from Saturday to Monday. Sources said that even this small town too has limited healthcare facilities and hence this was a better way to trace contacts and contain the infection. Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer for Covid-19, said, “As the number of patients is increasing, deaths are also increasing. People need to follow precautions so as to contain its spread.”

Dr Raj Bahadur, vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences said, “The patients need to be closely monitored …Normally, patients get themselves treated at home and land up in hospitals when they are very sick. A number of patients insist on isolating at home. Hence all these factors need to be monitored. Moreover, we do review the condition of sick patients in our group meetings every now and then.”

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