Chandigarh | Jagran News Desk: Amid the unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases across the country, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday denied imposing a complete lockdown in the state but asked officials to impose strict curbs in six worst-hit districts -- Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bathinda and Patiala -- to break the chain of the infection.

"Lockdown is not a solution as it will lead to an exodus of the labourers and force them to go to states with even lesser medical facilities," Captain Singh said while chairing a meet to review the COVID situation in the state.

Singh's clarification over lockdown comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising across Punjab at an alarming rate, causing a panic among the citizens. The state had on Thursday reported 138 fatalities and nearly 7,000 cases that pushed its death toll and caseload to above 8,900 and 3.64 lakh respectively.

Amid the massive surge in cases, the Punjab government on Monday imposed a state-wide weekend lockdown. It also ordered that all shops in the state can only function till 5 pm a day, adding that appropriate COVID behaviour must be followed.

The state government is also looking to ramp up the vaccination drive in Punjab. However, it on Friday said that phase 3 of the inoculation will not start from May 1 due to the "non-availability" of the vaccine.

The phase 3 of the vaccination drive involves inoculating those in the age group of 18 to 44 years.

"The state had received two lakh doses but that was not sufficient even to meet the two days' requirement of the 45+ age group," Singh said.

Notably, Punjab had earlier too complained of shortage of vaccine for people above 45-plus age group category and had urged the Centre to give 15 lakh doses a week for the state.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma