LAHORE: A "smart" lockdown imposed in the provincial capital's various coronavirus hotspots has been extended till July 15, a notification issued Tuesday by the Punjab government's Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department read.
According to the notification, 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".
Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary Capt (r) Muhammad Usman said the notification will be effective immediately and will be applicable for areas identified in the June 15 order. These include Shahdra, Mazang, Shad Bagh, Harbanspura, Old Lahore, Nishtar Town, Cantt, Allama Iqbal Town, and Gulberg.
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, tire puncture shops, naan shops, workshops pertaining to the agriculture sector, will be allowed to be 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 in the day, 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 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 in Lahore
The "smart" lockdown was announced on June 15 in Lahore and was due to come to an end at midnight tonight.
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.
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.
Later, on June 24, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Faisal Town, Gulberg, Model Town, DHA, and Garden Town were also cordoned off.
As of today, Punjab has recorded more than 75,500 cases and 1,700 deaths.