Head of Punjab's expert committee on COVID Dr K K Talwar on Wednesday urged people not to fall for rumours doing rounds on social media that alcohol can offer protection against coronavirus, which has infected nearly 4,00,000 people in the state. He said drinking too much alcohol can weaken people's immunity and increase their chances of getting infected.
Talwar said he read on social media that the consumption of alcohol can offer protection against the virus.
"Such sort of mistaken beliefs can create serious issues," he said.
"If people consume large quantities of alcohol, then they can have more chances of getting infected," he said.
Talwar told PTI that it is wrong to suggest that the consumption of liquor can kill the coronavirus.
He, however, said there is no harm in consuming a very small quantity of liquor.
Talwar, who is also a former director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), said based on scientific observation, it is recommended that people should avoid consuming liquor two days before and after taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
He also expressed concern over the higher fatality rate in Punjab's rural areas.
People in rural areas resort to self-medication or buying medicines from chemists for fever or any other problem instead of getting themselves tested in time, he said.
Talwar also stressed the need to prioritise monitoring of home isolation cases for quick identification of serious patients in rural areas.
According to Punjab health department data, the state's rural areas have a case fatality rate of 2.7 per cent as against less than one per cent in urban areas.
Rural areas have reported 58 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths and 27 per cent of total cases in the state this year, the data showed.
Talwar urged people to adhere to COVID curbs imposed by the state government and follow COVID appropriate behaviour to break the chain of transmission.
On Tuesday, Punjab registered the record single-day rise of 173 COVID-19 deaths and 7,601 new cases that pushed the state's toll to 9,645 and infection tally to 3,99,556, according to a medical bulletin.