Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa in an interview to News18 accepted that the rise in Covid-19 cases in Punjab is in fact linked to the farmer’s protest.
When asked about the rise in rural Punjab of the new coronavirus cases and availability of testing, the Minister revealed that the farmers returning from Singhu and Tikri borders are not getting themselves tested. This is one of the reasons why there is a sudden surge of cases in rural Punjab, he stated.
Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa is the minister for Rural Development, Animal Husbandry, Panchayats, Fisheries and Higher Education in Punjab.
Punjab minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa blames farmers returning from protests for the rise in #Covid19 numbers in Punjab.— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 20, 2021
News18’s Pankaj Kapanhi with the details.
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He also admitted that not enough testing is happening in the state as of now and arrangements are being made to ramp up the testing capabilities.
As per the report, two more farmers protesting at the border succumbed to the virus yesterday raising concerns. The farmers are sent from villages in batches and are made to protest in shifts. This practice undeniably puts them at a greater risk of infecting not just themselves but even their family members back home upon their return.
However, the government of Punjab had not spoken about the link between the rise in cases and the farmers’ protest on record as yet.
While the Centre is open to hold more rounds of discussion, the farmers are adamant on a complete roll back of the three Farm Laws.
Farmer protest sites the new super-spreader?
We had reported earlier on how the farmers who are returning from the Delhi border post registering their protest against the Farm laws may be acting as the new super-spreaders in Punjab.
As per a ground report by Dainik Jagran most new cases of coronavirus are emerging from districts that sent the most number of protestors to the site. As many as 900 farmers had traveled from a single district of Punjab to participate in the protest. It is imperative to note that 58% of the deaths reported in Punjab are from Rural areas.
The report further stated that the families of the patients are deliberately avoiding Covid testing or revealing the actual reason for death. This is because the government of Punjab has announced a compensation of 5 lakhs to the kin of the farmers who die because of the ongoing protest. In such a case if the family reports Covid as the cause of death, they will not be eligible for the compensation.
Centre’s internal reports correlate farmers’ protest and rise in Covid cases
As per Times of India, an internal report from Centre correlates rise in covid-19 cases and anti-farm laws protest. According to the report, the agitation can be related to the surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. The rotational shift by farmers has been cited as a prominent reason for the rise in cases in the report.