The Punjab government on Tuesday issued fresh restrictions to be imposed from March 1, in view of rising cases of coronavirus in the state. An official release from the office of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that number of people allowed in indoor gatherings will be capped at 100, while for those held outdoors, it will be 200.

Following a high-level meeting chaired by the chief minister to review the pandemic situation, the administration directed to ramp up tests to 30,000 per day, the release said. Strict enforcement of coronavirus-related protocols like maintaining physical distancing and use of masks was also ordered, while district collectors were authorised to impose night curfews in hotspots, if needed.

The chief minister said that a decision on reducing occupancy in cinema halls will be taken after March 1.

The government further ordered a mandatory testing of 15 contacts for every person who tests positive in the state. The testing of contacts will be monitored by designated Covid patient tracking officers and will be reviewed by the health department, the release stated. He also directed the health department to plan for and strategise the roll-out of vaccines for the elderly and those with comorbidities.

Singh also took stock of the vaccination status, and underlined the need to carry out a campaign to promote 100% coverage of healthcare and frontline workers. The chief minister expressed concern about the state’s case fatality rate of 3.23%.

In a presentation, state Health Secretary Hussan Lal told that that Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, SAS Nagar and SBS Nagar cities had shown a spike in positivity in the recent days, triggering concerns of a possible fresh wave of the virus.

Five states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab – overall account for 86.3% of the 14,199 new coronavirus infections reported in India on Monday. New restrictions are being imposed in different states. In Madhya Pradesh, the Balaghat district administration, which shares a border with Maharashtra, announced night curfew and other restrictions starting from Tuesday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a ban on all political, religious and social gatherings across the state from Monday, adding that a lockdown will have to be enforced if the situation deteriorates.