Ahead of polls, Covid testing tally drops in Punjab
Punjab government has implemented new Covid restrictions. But the significant drop in Covid testings could be worrisome as a high number of Punjabis live overseas and frequently travel to and from the poll-bound state.Author : Shagun
Punjab is preparing for assembly elections scheduled in February 2022. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases and threat of Omicron are increasing in the state, flagging concerns about political rallies and crowd gatherings. Amid all this, some media reports claim that numbers of Covid testing have significantly dropped in Punjab.
According to a report by a reputed Hindi media outlet, the tally of Covid testing has been dropped to around 10,000 daily from 25,000-30,000 tests every day in the state. The significant drop has bolstered the threat of Omicron spread in the state amid elections.
However, the Punjab government has implemented new Covid restrictions which will be in effect from January 15. But the significant drop in Covid testings could be worrisome as a high number of Punjabis live overseas and frequently travel to and from the poll-bound state.
Punjab performing poorly in terms of Covid testing
The government was conducting 16 to 17 thousand tests daily before the arrival of the Omicron. Later, when Omicron cases started rising gradually in the country, the Center flagged concerns for poll-bound states and directed to increase its daily Covid-19 testing. Punjab health department, on the other hand, continued to struggle in this area.
Following reports of the new variant and a likely third wave in the state, Punjab deputy chief minister OP Soni, who also holds the health portfolio, directed the department to undertake at least 40,000 daily tests on November 29.
The state, on the other hand, did not meet the target on any given day and was only able to conduct 20,000 to 30,000 Covid tests on a daily basis. But now, the numbers have dropped even further to 10,000 to 11,000 tests daily.
The prime motive, according to analysts, is making the state's covid tally appear low ahead of crucial polls.
The Election Commission of India's Model Code of Conduct is likely to be imposed in January. Meanwhile, CM Charanjit Channi and PPCC president Navjot Sidhu are constantly conducting rallies for the upcoming elections.
If Covid cases rise in Punjab, the CM Channi-led Congress government will be held accountable. Thus, the testing has been slowed.
Punjab covid tally
Punjab has 6,04,279 cases of infection as of Monday (December 27), including one Covid-related death in the Ludhiana district.
On Monday, Pathankot reported 14 new cases, followed by Jalandhar with nine and Patiala with seven. Seven COVID-19 cases were recorded in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, bringing the total number of cases to 65,781.
New covid guidelines in Punjab
1) In public places with large gatherings like Sabzi Mandi, Grain Markets, Public Transport, Parks religious places Malls, shopping complexes, Haats, Local Market and other similar places only fully vaccinated (second Dose)adult persons or those who are not due for second dose as per health protocol are to be allowed.
2) All Government/Board/Corporation offices located in Chandigarh to allow only fully vaccinated (second Dose) Adult Persons (including their employees) or those who are not due for second dose as per health protocol.
3) Hotels, Bars, Restaurants, malls, Shopping Complexes, Cinema Halls, Gym and Fitness Centers to allow only fully vaccinated (second Dose) Adult Persons (including their employees) or those who are not due for second dose as per health protocol.
4) Both Private and Government Sector Banks to allow only fully vaccinated (second Dose) Adult Persons (Including their employees) or those who are not due for second dose as per health protocol. Instruction to these banks may be given, accordingly.
Following means may be considered for verifying the vaccination status. (in case of COVISHEID beneficiary will be eligible for second dose after 84 days from first dose and in case of COVAXIN, beneficiary will be eligible for second dose after 28 days from first dose):
I. Downloaded certificates of 2nd dose (Hard/ Soft Copies)
II. 1" dose certificate to check if 2nd dose is due or not.
III. Person not having smart phones, Text message sent via COWIN portal (NHPSMS) may be considered for successful vaccination.
IV. Arogya setu app to check vaccination status.