Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday (September 10) announced that state government employees who have not even taken a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be sent on compulsory leave till they take the jab.
While chairing a high-level review meet on the COVID situation in the state, the chief minister also announced an extension to the ongoing restrictions in the state till September 30 in view of the upcoming festive season.
Expressing discontentment over the reluctance of several employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 despite the efforts of the government, Singh said the decision to send such staff on leave has been taken to ensure that the vaccinated ones don’t “pay the price of vaccine hesitancy”.
“Special efforts were taken to reach out to government employees, and those who continue to avoid getting vaccinated will now be asked to go on leave till they get the first dose,” the Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The government has also capped the upper limit of people at gatherings at 300 including political congregations, while stressing the need for COVID appropriate behaviour including wearing of masks and social distancing at these places.
Singh also made it mandatory for organisers to ensure that participants and staff at festival-related events are fully vaccinated or have been administered at least one dose.
The chief minister also ordered Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to form joint administration-police flying squads in every district to ensure compliance at places witnessing congregations including restaurants and wedding halls.
The chief minister also instructed the Department of Social Security to prepare reopening of Anganwadi Centres within this month.
Singh also ordered to increase the testing from the current 45,000 per day to 50,000 per day in view of the dreaded third wave of the pandemic.
School staff including both teaching and non-teaching, who have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, can resume their duties if they submit a negative RTPCR test report every week, the chief minister said. However, staff with co-morbidities will only be allowed to attend school if they are fully vaccinated.
The state’s logged 29 new cases on Thursday and two deaths, taking the infection tally to 6 lakh.