Punjab CM asks people to exercise caution amid reports of new Covid strain

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged people on Wednesday to exercise extreme caution and strictly follow all COVID-19 safety norms amid reports of a new strain of the virus spreading in some parts of the world.

Pointing out that even those who recover from the disease suffer from long-term after-effects, including weakness, the chief minister said the spread of the pandemic in the state may have slowed down, but the crisis is not yet over.

The last flight that landed in Amritsar from the United Kingdom on Tuesday reported eight positive cases of the virus, Singh said, adding he hoped that the new strain of the virus has not entered Punjab.

Punjab reported 14 more COVID-19 deaths and 488 new cases on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 5,243 and the infection count to 1,64,145.

Addressing a Facebook Live telecast, the chief minister pointed out that several of his colleagues and officers have tested positive for the disease. He urged everybody to wear masks and maintain social distance in order to save themselves, their families and Punjab.

The chief minister informed that the state was testing over 30,000 samples every day.

Even as he extended all help to families of protesting farmers, Singh asked the Akalis and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to stop indulging in petty politics over the farm laws as the issue was "not political but concerned the future of the state and its children".

"The issue is not political, it concerns the future of Punjab, our agriculture and the future of our children. If we don't oppose the black farm laws, we will endanger the future of our children," the chief minister said during the 19th Facebook Live #AskCaptain edition.

He said he did not go to visit protest site at the borders of the national capital out of respect for the feelings of the farmers, who have clearly stated that they don't want any political parties to be involved.

Urging the farmers to take care of themselves amid the severe cold, Singh asked them to call 1091 helpline or 112 police helpline for any emergency help for their families back in Punjab.

The chief minister flayed the central government for allegedly trying to destroy the established system of Arhtiyas(commission agents) with the new farm laws. "Why are you trying to break the relationship between the farmers and the Arhtiyas," he asked, adding that this is what has upset the farmers.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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