Punjab govt decides to lock down seven more areas in Lahore till June 30
Statesman Report
LAHORE: The Punjab government announced it is sealing off seven more areas in Lahore to stem the spread of the COVID-19, as cases of the virus continue to surge across Pakistan.
The areas which will be sealed off from midnight include Gulshan-e-Ravi, Faisal Town, Gulberg, Model Town, DHA, and Garden Town. These areas will be closed completely from midnight.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the main reason to seal the aforementioned areas is to halt the surging number of coronavirus cases in the province since the standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being violated in these respective areas.
"Hopefully, if SOPs are implemented in a week, there will be a clear reduction in coronavirus cases," she maintained, adding that the government is trying its level best to ensure economic activities took place and at the same time, ensure all possible measures were being taken to for the safety of citizens.
Deploring that the most number of SOP violations are reported from marketplaces and business centres, Rashid urged masses to abide by safety measures while strictly wearing masks, especially outdoors and at public spaces.
"We are fulfilling our responsibility but the people are also responsible in combating the contagious disease [by following the issued directives]," the minister stressed.
Speaking about the health facilities, provision of medical equipment and hospital capacity in the medical centres of the province, Rashid noted that during the last 10 days, there the number of High Dependency Units (HDU) and ventilators have increased in Punjab. She said that about 30 to 50 % of the beds in hospitals were empty.
"We have 250 High Dependency Units [HDU] and 60 ventilators empty," she added.
Maintaining that the government is conducting free coronavirus tests, the minister stated that about 11,000 tests are being conducted on a daily basis across the province.
Funeral SOPs relaxed
The provincial government of Punjab on Wednesday relaxed the standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding funeral processions and burial of those who succumbed to the novel coronavirus.
A notification in this regard was issued after the approval of the Anti-Corona Cabinet Committee headed by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
According to Secretary Primary and Secondary Health Care, Captain (retd) Muhammad Usman, trained teams of local government officials would perform the ablution of the deceased with all the necessary precautionary measures. The heirs would also be able to join in the bathing wearing full protective clothing.
Relatives of the deceased would also be able to attend the funeral precessions whereas the condition of a coffin for burial has also been removed, according to Capt (retd) Usman.