Thirty thousand of them remain self-isolated.
An ‘NRI Belt’ of Punjab has been found to contain half of the entire state’s positive COVID-19 cases.
Out of the 38 cases in Punjab, 19 are from Nawanshahr, which is in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district.
It was revealed that 18 of the 19 cases are family members and friends of a Germany-based man named Baldev Singh, who sadly died.
Nawanshahr Civil Surgeon Rajinder Prasad Bhatia explained:
“16 positive cases are family members of the 70-year-old man while two others had travelled with the septuagenarian while returning from Germany via Italy, and one is from his native village Sarpunch who came in contact with him.”
The other ‘NRI Belts’ of Punjab, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar have six and four confirmed cases.
Baldev returned to Punjab on March 7, 2020. He travelled from Germany and went through Italy.
On March 18, 2020, he died in hospital after suffering from hypertension.
Almost every family member who came into contact with Baldev subsequently contracted Coronavirus.
Currently, over 1,300 people in Nawanshahr remain under home quarantine, 1,023 have tested negative.
It is estimated that 97,000 NRIs have returned to Punjab since the end of January. Thirty thousand of them remain self-isolated.
Certain places in Punjab are referred to as ‘NRI Belts’ because of the large number of Punjabi people who have migrated to other countries.
Today there are large Punjabi communities in Australia, Canada and the UK, although migration from Punjab dates back to 1849.
NRIs are a celebrated figure in Punjabi culture as they are seen as a partner in development. However, the Coronavirus has caused that to change.
It has been reported that the government are trying to locate “fleeing NRIs” and NRIs violating home quarantine rules.
NRIs have also been accused of hiding their relatives.
Due to COVID-19, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has shifted the focus towards NRIs, who are no longer being seen as a development partner but as a possible hindrance to development.
The Punjab government have taken measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus by asking NRIs who came to India after January 30, to provide their details on the helpline number ‘112’.
A self-declaration proforma has also been issued, meaning that NRIs will have to provide their details such as passport number, name of the airport they arrived at, date of landing and date of arrival in Punjab.
A statement also revealed that NRIs will have to give details about their permanent address or where they are presently staying.
They should also mention the places they visited in Punjab and contact details such as mobile and landline numbers, as well as email addresses.
If any NRI or foreign traveller deliberately conceals this information from the government then authorities may take action.
Punjab has 38 positive cases of the Coronavirus. One person has died in the state, while the first positive case has been discharged.