With the state registering a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases surge, the Punjab School Education Board Monday announced the postponement of the final exams of classes 10 and 12 by about a month. The move comes as there is no let down in new infections – the state recorded 1,843 fresh cases and 27 deaths Monday – with Amritsar district administration making it mandatory for all those attending social gatherings in the holy city to produce a Covid-19 negative report or proof that they have been vaccinated.
In a statement, the PSEB said the exams of class 10 will now start from May 4 instead of April 9 while that of class 12 will start from April 20 instead of March 22. The exams will end on May 24, it further said.
According to Janak Raj, PSEB Controller (exams), the three-hour exams of classes 10 and 12 will start at 10.15 am and 2.15 pm, respectively. Raj also said there are around 6.40 lakh students of classes 10 and 12 of PSEB in the state.
Meanwhile, authorities in Patiala declared the hostels of Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology as a macro-containment zone after 15 more students tested positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of infected students there to 38.
Patiala Civil Surgeon Dr Satinder Pal Singh said all the students residing in the hostels will now be tested. “We have earmarked a separate hostel for isolating students testing positive,” he said.
The total infection tally in state reached 1,99,573, while the death toll rose to 6,099 with 1,843 fresh cases and 27 more fatalities. The number of active cases also increased from 11,550 on Sunday to 11,942 on Monday.
Jalandhar reported a maximum 372 fresh cases, followed by Hoshiarpur (238), and Ludhiana (226). Maximum eight fatalities were registered in Hoshiarpur, followed by five in SBS Nagar, four in Ludhiana, two in Amritsar and one each in Mohali, Muktsar, Ropar, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur.
There are now 26 critical patients who are on ventilator support while 258 are on oxygen support.
Earlier, in an order passed late on Sunday, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira passed made it mandatory for people attending social gatherings in district to present a Covid-19 negative report or proof that they have been vaccinated.
“The ceiling of 100 people (for indoor) and 200 people (for outdoor) on various indoor and outdoor social/religious/sports/entertainment/cultural gatherings shall be strictly enforced. Fines shall be imposed for violation of above ceiling limit on the organisers and the persons found violating social distancing and are without face masks at such gatherings,” the order stated.
“The organisers of such events shall ensure that any person attending such event should be either tested negative for coronavirus, 72 hours prior to the event, or should have been vaccinated and carries its proof. All the sub-divisional magistrates and their police counterparts will ensure that these directions are strictly followed in their sub divisions by regularly visiting marriage palaces, restaurants, among others,” according to the order.
The DC also directed that fines would be imposed on people roaming at crowded places without wearing masks and that they would be tested for Covid-19 on the spot. “Fines shall also be imposed on shopkeepers and customers for not wearing masks and they will also be tested for Covid-19,” the order said.