Chandigarh | Jagran News Desk: The Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab on Monday issued fresh guidelines for the state amid the massive surge in COVID-19 cases and extended the night curfew timings from 8 pm to 5 am.

It also imposed a ban on all social, political, religious and cultural gatherings and announced that all malls, shops, markets, bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres and sports complexes in Punjab will stay closed till April 30.

However, the Punjab government said that marriages and wedding functions can be organised but only 20 people would be allowed to attend them. In the case of funerals, only 20 people will be allowed.

"Rates for RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) by private labs have been reduced to Rs 450 and Rs 300 respectively," the Punjab Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a statement.

Punjab has emerged as one of the coronavirus hotspots in India. The state had on Sunday reported record daily spike of nearly 5,000 cases, pushing its total caseload to over 3 lakh. The death toll also crossed the grim mark of 7,900 after Punjab reported 68 fatalities on Sunday.

As per the state health department, Mohali remains the worst affect district in Punjab. It had reported nearly 900 COVID-19 cases on Sunday. Mohali was followed by Amritsar and Ludhiana which reported more than 650 coronavirus cases each.

Amid this, the central government last week had written a letter to Punjab, asking the state to ensure that appropriate COVID behaviour is followed. Highlighting that the mantra of "test, track and trace" is the best solution to break the chain of COVID-19, the Centre had said that rigorous steps should be taken to reduce the mortality rate.

It had also said that contact tracing should be increased, especially in Patiala and Ludhiana, while adding that pace of vaccination should be ramped up.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta