Chandigarh: Punjab Congress will not hold any political gatherings for the next two weeks in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state. According to the press release, the announcement was made by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation.

The Chief Minister also appealed to other political parties and their leaders to keep their gatherings within the prescribed numbers, for example, 50 percent of capacity, subject to maximum of 100 in closed and 200 in open spaces. No political gatherings should take place in the most affected districts, he said.

Underlining the need for strict enforcement, the Chief Minister ordered compulsory enforcement of wearing face masks in the state. 

He directed the police and health authorities to take all those moving around and loitering in public areas, and on the roads and streets, without face masks, to the nearest RT-PCR Testing Facility for taking nasopharyngeal swabs to ensure that they are not asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, the press release said.

He asked the District Commissioner of Amritsar to talk to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and management of Durgiana temple to encourage devotees to wear face masks inside the shrines.

The rise in cases was a matter of serious concern, particularly in rural areas which had seen much fewer cases last year, said the Chief Minister, directing the concerned departments to launch awareness campaigns in villages.

In the 11 worst-affected districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Moga, the chief minister ordered restrictions on in-person public dealings in government offices with people to be encouraged to visit offices only for essential services.

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