Punjab Medical Education Minister OP Soni on Wednesday inaugurated a virus research lab in Patiala with little adherence to the social distancing rules.
The minister was surrounded by doctors, police personnel, college staff and the media as he inaugurated a Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories in the city. People could be seen standing shoulder-to-shoulder as the minister addressed them during the event. Although, those attending the event wore masks, the call for “do-gaaz doori” (6 feet distance) was completely disregarded. Media persons, police and staff can be seen surrounding the minister as he walks in to inaugurate the lab.
A senior health officer, when asked about the violations during the lab inauguration, said, “All are policymakers. They themselves should realise their responsibility and follow the guidelines.”
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, grappling with the coronavirus pandemic in the state, launched a campaign “Mission Fateh” to fight the spread of the deadly virus. However, ministers in his cabinet do not seem to be in agreement with the chief minister.
In a similar incident, the Industries and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora attended the coronation ceremony of the chairman of district market committee on Tuesday in the state’s Hoshiarpur district. Party MLAs, workers and supporters were seen clicking photographs with the minister, all the while flouting social distancing rules.
The minister, when asked about the event, was quick to dismiss the allegations while adding, “I tell you all (media-persons) to maintain social distancing. Leave the audience who attended the event alone.”
The Director of Health Services has notified a penalty of ₹2,000 this week for those violating social distancing rules. The district administration in Hoshiarpur and Patiala have so far not taken any action in the cases.
Punjab has reported at least 2,342 coronavirus cases with 46 deaths so far.