LAHORE: The Punjab government ordered the police to lock down 40 more areas of the city partially and completely from Wednesday midnight.
The decision may cause a great deal of inconvenience to almost half of the population of the city in terms of movement and routine life. The regions approved for lockdown also included six densely populated areas, including the entire Defence Housing Authority, Johar Town, Gulberg, Model Town, Garden Town, Faisal Town and Askari 10. Similarly, the entire Walled City will also be locked down, including Tibbi City, Rang Mahal, Masti Gate, Mochi Gate, Lohari Gate, Bhati Gate, Yakki Gate and Akbari Gate.
The decision was taken after these areas reported a large number of Covid-19 cases.
The health and district authorities had finalised the list of the areas and recommended them to the government for a lockdown.
Entire DHA, Johar Town, Gulberg, Model Town, Garden Town, Faisal Town, Askari 10, Walled City among areas closed
A senior policeman told Dawn that 250 points had been identified to close down these areas where pickets would be set up manned by 5,000 policemen to implement “wheel jam” – check on people’s movement. Only certain categories of people would be allowed to move, including judicial officers, law enforcement personnel, doctors, journalists, patients going to hospitals. All businesses in these areas would be closed, while joint checkposts of police and Rangers would be set up at some of these 250 points, he added.
During a high-level meeting on Wednesday, many areas of Mianwali and Sargodha were also discussed in the context of a lockdown, an official privy to the information told Dawn. However, he said, the meeting remained inconclusive about these cities.
The focus was shifted to Lahore being the highest risk city for Covid-19. According to official figures, Lahore has so far reported 580 deaths and 34,820 confirmed cases of the virus.
The meeting gave a go-ahead to the police to impose smart lockdown on the new localities from Wednesday midnight. Besides the areas mentioned above, policemen were deployed to close eight other localities in the City division, three in Civil Lines, four each in Iqbal Town and Model Town, four in Saddar division and 15 in Cantt.
The areas to be closed in the City division were Karim Park Blocks No 2, 3 and 4; Amin Park Street No 2; Begum Kot Shama Colony; Ravi Clifton in Shahdara, Hanif Park and Malik Park. In the Civil Lines area, Abdul Kareem Road, Usmania Colony and Royal Park will be closed.
In the Iqbal Town division, authorities have decided to close the entire Gulshan-i-Ravi, Tariq Colony, Al-Hamd Colony and Ghosia Colony. In the Saddar division, PCSIR-II B Block, Canal View Society B Block and Wapda Town’s G and F2 blocks would be closed.
The areas to be closed in Cantt division were Jallo Mor, Dhobi Mohala, Bismillah Housing Scheme B Block, Hussainpura, Kothi Stop, Sirajpura, Bilal Colony of Daroghawala, eight blocks of Gulistan Colony, E Block of Tajpura, Shah Alam Colony and Ali Muhammad Park.
The official said residents would not be allowed out of their homes during the lockdown, except for buying essentials. Other activities banned during the period were gathering in streets or roads, wedding-related functions and any other kind of event.
Meanwhile, the health department stated that in Punjab, 21 more patients of Covid-19 died during the last 24 hours and 1,228 new cases of infections were reported, including 762 in Lahore.
The total number of deaths in Punjab has reached 1,516 and confirmed cases 69,536.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020