Punjab’s smart lockown extended till July 15
LAHORE: The Punjab government on Tuesday announced an extension in the "smart" lockdown imposed in various coronavirus hotspots across the province, till July 15.
According to a notification issued by the primary and secondary healthcare department, the government of Punjab "is pleased to extend the applicability of the order […] dated 15.06.2020 till 12:00am Wednesday, 15.07.2020, unless modified otherwise".
Secretary Primary and Secondary Health Care retired Capt Muhammad Usman said the notification will be effective immediately, and remain in place till July 15.
The following restrictions/exemptions have been notified:
- Educational institutions, wedding halls, restaurants, parks and cinema halls will remain closed
- Gathering for social, religious or sports activities will not be allowed
- All business locations will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm
- Medical stores, tyre puncture shops, naan shops, workshops pertaining to the agriculture sector, will be allowed to remain open 24 hours a day
- Call centres will be allowed to remain open with 50% staff
- Inter-district transport will be allowed 24 hours a day
- Grocery stores will be open all week, from 9am to 7pm
- All churches will be open for worship only on Sundays from 7am to 5pm
Earlier, it was reported that the Punjab government has devised a "new strategy" to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A meeting presided by senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan and chief secretary Punjab decided to authorise deputy commissioners to seal or reopen their areas depending on the number of cases there.
The meeting also reviewed the price and supply mechanism of medicines and the security situation in the province after the Pakistan Stock Exchange attack that took place in Karachi on Monday.
'Smart' lockdown imposed
The "smart" lockdown was announced on June 15 and was to come to an end at midnight.
At the time of its imposition, the Punjab government had noted that "there has been an increase in the number of pandemic coronavirus cases in the province on Punjab as well as in Pakistan which poses a serious and imminent threat to public health and public order".
It was therefore ordered that there shall be "controlled entry and exit" in areas of district Lahore identified as hotspots.
To that end, the government had sealed off seven areas of Lahore — Shahdra, Shad Bagh, Mazang, Harbanspura, Old Lahore, Nishtar Ground, and Cantt.
Later, on June 24, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Faisal Town, Gulberg, Model Town, DHA, and Garden Town were also cordoned off.
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid had said that the main reason to seal the areas was 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 said, adding that the government is trying its best to ensure economic activities take place and at the same time, ensure all possible measures are taken to for the safety of citizens.
As of Tuesday, Punjab has recorded more than 75,500 cases and 1,700 deaths.