This was announced on Friday by chief minister Amarinder Singh as a measure to protect the people of the state from the disease, and to ensure that those who are vaccinated do not have to pay the price for continued vaccine hesitancy of those who are not.
At the high-level virtual Covid review meeting held on Friday, the chief minister said vaccine effectiveness is evident from the data being analysed. Special efforts were taken to reach out to Government employees, and those who continue to avoid getting vaccinated will now be asked to go on leave till they get the first dose.
Amarinder also allowed teaching and non-teaching school staff who had taken at least one dose of vaccine more than four weeks ago to resume duties, subject to submission of weekly RTPCR negative test reports. However, all those with comorbidities shall only be allowed once they are fully vaccinated, he added.
School Education Secretary Krishan Kumar earlier pointed out that currently, only fully vaccinated staff members are allowed to come to schools. Health Minister Balbir Sidhu suggested gap for the second dose to be reduced for the school staff to 28 days but Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan informed the meeting that the Centre had rejected the state’s request to allow them to be treated as essential services.
Meanwhile, 3,21,969 school students along with 33,854 teaching and non-teaching staff samples have been taken in the month of August, across a total of 5799 schools, and a total of 158 cases have tested positive so far, which accounts for a positivity rate of only 0.05%, he added.
Citing the latest zero-survey, he revealed that for children in the age group of 6-17 years, the positivity was at 60%, and it was higher in the age bracket of 14-17 years. It was spread equally across gender and place of residence, as per the survey, which has confirmed “that our children, even though affected by Covid, have remained largely safe from serious disease,” noted the Chief Minister.
Punjab health minister Balbir Sidhu urged the chief minister to ensure availability of sufficient vaccines to ensure vaccination of all eligible people before the festivals.
Amarinder said he will pursue the matter with the Union Health Minister, who had earlier assured him of additional supplies. He directed the health department to ensure that all staff at sweet shops, kiosks, dhabas etc are vaccinated with at least one dose.