According to the latest update by Punjab Government, an order has been passed by the CM Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh for a statewide lockdown from tomorrow morning till March 31, 2020, as an emergency measure to tackle the worsening COVID-19 situation.
The lockdown will take effect from 6 am on Monday and will remain in force till 9 pm on March 31 but all essential services will be available during the shutdown. It is important to know that there will not be a curfew during the lockdown period but restrictions under Section 144 shall remain imposed, thus preventing more than 10 persons from getting together in a public space at any given time.
In addition to Electricity, Water and Municipal Services, Banks and ATMs, Print and Electronic Media including social media, Telecom/ Internet and Cable operators and concerned agencies, Postal services, courier services, essential IT services, along with E-Commerce and its home delivery, Shops of Food, Groceries, Milk, Bread, Eggs, Fruit, Vegetable, Meat, Poultry, Fish etc.(including departmental stores and supermarkets) and all other daily needs shall remain open.
Restaurants/ bakeries, halwais, tea shops, eateries shall remain open for take-away or home delivery only (no seating or dine-in shall be permitted). Also, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Doctors, Vaids, Hakeems, Homeopaths, Chemist shops, Optical stores and Pharmaceuticals manufacturing, Petrol pumps, LPG gas, Oil agencies & godowns, petroleum refineries & depots, petrochemical products shall be exempt from the lockdown. Veterinary hospitals and gaushala will also be exempted from the lockdown.
The Health Department has directed the DCs of all the districts to ensure strict implementation of the restrictions making sure that all persons stay at home and leave only for obtaining essential services/items or for employment/duty. Extra forces have been deployed in all the districts and all the police personnel shall take all precautions for their own safety and those of the people in whose contact they shall come during this period.
Those who have returned from their foreign tours must undergo home quarantine and report to the nearest Government health facility in case there is onset of any symptoms of the disease. An appeal has also been made to the trade and businesses not only to ensure adequate supplies of essential commodities but to avoid hoarding and profiteering of any kind.
Seeking the cooperation of the people in these testing times, the Chief Minister pointed out that a State Control Room had already been established for ensuring a coordinated effort amongst different departments of the State. Similar Control Rooms have also been established at all District HQs. People can reach out to the Government on 181 and 104, he said, assuring of “an adequate and prompt response.”
Meanwhile, in his official notification issued in accordance with the Chief Minister’s orders, the Chief Secretary ordered a shutdown of all establishments to break the transmission chain of contagion of COVID-19 “for which it is necessary to prevent/minimize close contact amongst all persons.”
“Henceforth, all the Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates would issue orders under section 144 of CrPc or under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 for shut down of all establishments except those providing essential services/items in the districts from Monday March 23 March (6 am) till Tuesday i.e. March 31 (inclusive),” the Chief Secretary notified. The notification was followed by individual notifications by the respective DCs of all the districts.
The Chief Secretary’s notification said: “The Department of Food a Civil Supplies has already issued a list of essential commodities/items to all the Deputy Commissioners vide Letter IFD (1455-2020/866, dated 21-03-2020. In addition, eggs, poultry feed, media, e-commerce and essential IT services will also come under the category of essential items/services. Each DC may add any other essential item/service to this list as per local requirements to minimise disruption and ensure essential supplies.”
“All items/services mentioned in the notification includes production, manufacturing transport, storage, wholesale, retail etc, and they shall be included as essential items / services,” as per the notification. Further, all goods vehicles including those carrying the essential items are exempted under the notification, which, however, requires drivers and other work force involved in loading and unloading of the material to take all precautionary measures.
It has been clarified that the DCs will allow all ancillary activity for each item of essential services, such as delivery of newspapers by hawkers.
The Health Department has clarified that during the lockdown period, all private establishments such as shops, offices, factories, workshops etc. but excluding godowns & warehouses, shall remain closed. Further, no public transport services (passenger) including operation of taxis/ auto- rickshaws etc. shall be permitted except transport of all kinds to and from hospitals, airports, railway stations, bus terminals/ bus stands. In this context, it said specific routes to be allowed in the districts shall be decided by respective DCs. The Department of Transport may operate essential skeleton services of State Transport Undertaking to ensure essential services, it added. All inter-state commercial passenger transport (buses) shall be closed.
The Health Department has made it clear that strict home quarantine, for 14 days (excluding the day of arrival in India), shall be observed by all foreign returnees (who landed in India on or after 07.03.2020) and their contacts/ other persons at risk, as decided by the District Administration. All such foreign returnees shall also mandatorily contact the District Administration (104/112) and register themselves tor home quarantine and download the COVA Punjab Mobile App), failing which they shall be liable for legal action.
As per the orders issued by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, the following services shall be considered as ‘Essential Services’, unless specifically ordered to be restricted by the appropriate authority in the Government.
Any postal, telegraph or telecom operators services, including any service connected therewith;
Any railway service or any transport service for the carriage of essential commodities.
Any service connected with the operation or maintenance of aerodromes, or with the operation, repair or maintenance of aircraft, or any service in the International Airports Authority of India constituted under section 3 of the International Airports Authority Act, 1971;43 of 1971).
Any service in any establishment of, or connected with, the armed forces of the Union or in any other establishments of installations connected with defence;
Any service in any establishment or undertaking dealing with the production of goods required for any purpose connected with defence;
Any service in any section of any industrial undertaking pertaining to a scheduled industry on the working of which the safety of such undertaking or the employees employed therein depends.
(For the purposes of this sub-clause, the expressions “industrial undertaking” and “scheduled industry” shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (d) and (i)of section 3 of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951;(65 0f 1951).)
Any service in, or in connection with, the working of any undertaking owned or controlled by the State Government or Central Government being an undertaking engaged in the purchase, procurement, storage, supply or distribution of foodgrains;
Any service in, or in connection with the working of any system of public conservancy, sanitation or water supply, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Bulk drugs and its intermediaries for hospitals or dispensaries in the state, cantonment area or undertaking owned or controlled by the Central or State Government;
Any service in connection with or in relation to Banking and Insurance ;
Any service in any establishment or undertaking dealing with the production, supply or distribution of coal, power, steel or fertilizers;
Any service in any oilfield or refinery or in any establishment or undertaking dealing with the production, supply or distribution of petroleum and petroleum products;
Any service in any mint or security press;
Any service in any establishment supplying food products including fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry.
Any other item as deemed essential and so declared by the concerned District Magistrate/District Commissioner, as per the clause xvi or xvii of section 2 (1) (a) of the aforesaid act.