To encourage testing for Covid, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced distribution of free food packets to poor families who do not want to get themselves tested for fear of isolation impacting their meager earnings.The Chief Minister said the distribution of free food packets would help encourage poor families to go for early testing, which was imperative to check the spread of the pandemic and control the increasing fatality rate in Punjab. The programme will start from Patiala, one of the worst affected districts with widespread false propaganda, he said. The Chief Minister directed other districts to make similar arrangements for distribution of free food packets to poor Covid patients in home isolation so that they get motivated to come out for testing and do not live in fear of losing their earnings during isolation.Accepting the suggestion of Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar the Chief Minister said that District Congress Committees (DCCs) and local MLAs will help the district administration in the distribution of these packets.
The Chief Minister stated this while chairing a virtual meeting with elected representatives, including ministers and MLAs, as well as senior officials. This was the first of such meetings the Chief Ministers plans to hold to fight the malicious propaganda being spread over Covid in villages.Noting that people were also scared of hospitalisation, Captain Amarinder said his government was encouraging home isolation to combat this fear and had also decided to remove posters/stickers from homes of patients to end the stigma attached to their isolation.The Chief Minister asked the Ministers to visit hospitals in the districts represented by them, and urged them to encourage party leaders and workers to be more active in combatting the pandemic. He himself would soon be visiting a hospital to assess the situation on the ground, he said.He thanked the Ministers for Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research for the excellent work done by their departments in battling the Covid and asked them to convey his wishes to their teams and staff members.Pointing out that nobody knew how long the pandemic would last, Captain Amarinder stressed the need to be prepared for a tough and long-drawn battle. He assured that despite the financial crunch, all necessary funds would be made available by his government to fight the Covid pandemic in the state.