Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced the curfew in the state would be lifted from May 18, 2020.
However, the lockdown would remain in force till May 31, 2020 in the containment areas, he said during his live Facebook session here this evening.
The CM was responding to the public queries related to lockdown and Covid-19 during his direct online communication #AskCaptain launched today. He would be holding such online sessions on his social media platform every week.
He also indicated resumption of limited public transport and maximum possible relaxations in the non-containment zones from May 18.
The state government wanted no restrictions on movement of individuals from 5 am to 7 pm, and had suggested that restrictions, if any, may be imposed between 7 pm and 5. am.
This all important announcement has come amid a decline in the daily count of new cases over the past four days.
In response to a question from a small businessman from Sangrur, he said that all effort would be made to ensure that maximum number of shops and businesses open up after May 18.
The containment zones would be strictly sealed to enable resumption of shops and small businesses, he said adding the details of all relaxations would be announced by Monday, taking into account the new guidelines of the Centre for lockdown 4.0.
The CM, however, made it clear that educational institutes would continue to remain closed in the interest of safety and security of the children. The schools equipped to start online classes could go ahead, without any non-tuition fee charges and without any fee hike, he added.
Advocating containment-focused strategy, he underlined the need to scrap the current system of classifying the entire district as red zone and putting severe restrictions economic activities there even if the Covid cases were reported from only one part of the district.
The CM warned that the numbers of cases could go up as more migrant labourers and NRIs enter Punjab. As of now, 60,000 Punjabis from other states and 20,000 from abroad had registered for return.
Responding to a question, the CM said it was not possible to further advance paddy cultivation date from June 10 to June 1, since the wheat grain was still coming to the mandis.
He shared the suggestion made to the Centre that offices, both private and government, may be allowed to open for the entire week during normal office hours, with staggered in timings to avoid over-crowding.
Other suggestions of the state government, listed by him, include allowing shops to open in all markets and complexes in a staggered manner if they are too crowded, operationalisation of industry and construction in urban areas without any restriction, as well as permission for e-Commerce for all the commodities.
Captain Amarinder also shared that the state government has pitched for resumption of air, railways and inter-state bus services with reduced capacity, as well as starting of intra-district and inter-district buses, taxis, cabs, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws with adequate Covid preparedness.
However, it was in favour of continued prohibition of activities where there would be a sizeable crowd under one roof in places like shopping malls, cinemas, religious places, marriage and banquet halls, social, political and cultural gatherings.
Every effort would be made to ensure that no person goes hungry, he declared while agreeing that the over 1 lakh food packets distributed so far were not sufficient and more needed to be done on this count.