Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged all private and government hospitals in the state to provide Covid-19 vaccination services for at least eight hours daily till March 31. The chief minister on Friday chaired a review meeting with the state officials in the wake of rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and said, “We have to be prepared for a long battle.”

At the meeting, he also took note of the low vaccination numbers in the state. According to an official statement, he expressed concern that of 1,291 registered private facilities, 891 have reportedly not administered a single dose.

He asked the district administration to come down heavily on such hospitals, stressing that private health facilities need to join the government battle against coronavirus. Charges for a coronavirus vaccine in private health care institutions must be publicised and overcharging should not be permitted, he directed the Health Department.

During the meeting, Singh said, “From a low of around 200 cases daily and deaths in single digits, Punjab has gone to around 2,000 cases per day and the deaths are also increasing. “We have to be prepared for this second surge. We have to be prepared for a long battle.” The chief minister, however, said his government is fully prepared to deal with the second wave.

He asked all elected and local leaders to make efforts to reach out to the public and address vaccination hesitancy. There should be no requirement of a separate certificate if an eligible person aged 45 and above brings a medical record regarding co-morbidities, he directed.

The CM directed the Health Department to ensure the coverage of all frontline workers. This must include all those who provided essential services or were on COVID duty during the curfew and the lockdown, he added.

The chief minister said the state has consistently remained at the 18th position among all states in India in terms of the COVID numbers.

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