Punjab fears rise in cases after 90,000 NRIs return home amid coronavirus outbreak

Around 90,000 people of Punjab who were living abroad, have come home as coronavirus spread across the world. Now, funds are needed to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread in the state, the Amarinder Singh government said, seeking Rs 150 crore from the Centre for a major security, sanitation and medical preparation drive.

In a letter to Union health minister Dr Harshvardhan, state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu wrote: “Punjab has the maximum number of NRIs in the country and only 90,000 of them have landed in the state this month. Many have symptoms of COVID-19 and are are further spreading the disease… The number of COVID-19 patients are going to increase alarmingly.”

So far, 23 people have tested positive for the virus, one of them has died.

The state has started a vigorous clampdown, shutting down all public transport two days ago and announcing restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Today, it became the first state to announce a curfew, and started action against those violating it.

Unlike a lockdown, when people are allowed to go out and get essential commodities, During a curfew, citizens cannot be seen on the streets or public places. If they are, then they can be arrested or fined.

This is unlike a lockdown, when people are allowed to get essential commodities, no one is allowed out of doors during a curfew. They can be arrested or fined if seen in a public place.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted: “In the past few days, we have initiated legal action against violators of home quarantine. All measures being taken are for the larger good of everyone. While I am happy that everyone is cooperating, I will not let a few threaten the safety measures being taken”.

Through the day, 48 cases were registered for curfew violations in the state. Of these, the maximum number of cases – 26 — were from Mohali near Chandigarh.

Overall India reported 446 cases and 9 deaths.