GUJRAT: At least 10 areas were completely and three partially locked down across the district on Saturday.

Local authorities placed harsh restrictions on people’s movement in the wake of rising number of coronavirus cases in Gujrat where official figures say there are around 50 confirmed patients, mostly expatriates from Spain, Italy and Greece.

A senior doctor of the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) has also tested positive for coronavirus along with 27 news cases.

Jogi Mohallah of Jalalpur Jattan, at least four vicinities in Gujrat city, and some rural parts of the district where most cases were reported from, have been completely locked down with police and Rangers deployed there. Similarly, Shadiwal and a few localities of Lalamusa town were partially locked down.

More barriers were placed along various exit and entry points of the district on Saturday and the residents warned through announcements from loudspeakers against coming out of their homes from 8pm to 8am. During this time, no vehicle would be allowed to ply except goods transport, and only pharmacies would remain open.

Meanwhile, the district administration converted two more hospitals into quarantine centres, including the 60-bed Social Security Hospital on GT Road and 120-bed Mission Hospital. The sports gymnasium along Bhimbher Road located in front of ABSTH has been selected for the establishment of a field hospital.

Deputy Commissioner Dr Khurram Shahzad said the ABSTH had been dedicated to the treatment of confirmed coronavirus patients whereas the suspected cases would be shifted to the quarantine centre established in the academic block of Nawaz Sharif Medical College.

He said the THQ hospitals of Kharian and Sara-i-Alamgir could also be used later for the patients, but currently the confirmed cases from these tehsils were being treated at ABSTH.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2020