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Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh yesterday ordered a total ban on political gatherings till April 30 and said that violators, including political leaders, will be booked under the DMA and Epidemics Act as COVID positive cases continue to remain high in the state. 

The Chief Minister also announced extension of night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am, which hitherto was imposed in 12 districts, to the entire state and reduced the number of attendees at funeral/cremations/weddings to 50 people indoors and 100 for outdoors. Wearing of masks has been made mandatory for all government employees while in office.
 
These restrictions, coupled with the ones imposed earlier, which include closure of schools and educational institutions, shall remain effective till April 30. However, there is some respite for shop owners in Malls, as the Chief Minister allowed entry of 10 people per shop at any given time, as against the earlier order of not allowing more than 100 people in a mall at one time. This would imply that 200 people will be allowed in a Mall with 20 shops at any given time.
 
Captain Amarinder, in his weekly review of the COVID situation, expressed concern at the high positivity and mortality rates in the state. He said it was a matter of concern that over 85% of cases in Punjab are of the UK strain, which is more contagious and virulent. He also directed Punjab DGP, Dinkar Gupta, to ensure strict implementation of the night curfew.
 
He said, he had no option but to go in for stricter measures to further control the ongoing surge, even though the number of positive cases had somewhat stabilized in the last few days due to curbs imposed earlier.
 
Expressing surprise at the behaviour of certain political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and SAD’s Sukhbir Badal, who had been attending political rallies without following safety protocols, the Chief Minister said such irresponsible conduct doesn’t behove them. 

“How do you expect people to be serious about the spread of the disease if senior political leaders behave like this”, he said adding that his government would need to be tough to tackle such violations and political leaders would also need to be booked.

The schools and other educational institutions will remain closed till April 30 and extension in night curfew imposed earlier in 12 districts has also been announced. Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta has been directed to strictly implement the night curfew. 

Annoyed with political leaders attending rallies without following safety protocols, CM announced a ban on political gatherings and said political leaders will be booked if they violate ban. Besides, wearing masks in the offices has been made mandatory and the number of attendees in the funeral, cremation or wedding has been reduced to 60 indoors and 100 outdoors. 



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