LAHORE: The deputy commissioner claims that spread of coronavirus has massively declined in all those areas / localities that were placed under smart lockdown.

He further says that placing more areas under lockdown a couple of days before and likely in near future doesn’t mean that the government is gradually heading toward locking down the entire Lahore.

“The Covid-19 spread in the areas, where the smart lockdown was started about 10 days ago including some blocks / sectors of Johar Town, has reduced considerably. And it is really good news at the time when the whole country is passing through a panicky situation,” DC Danish Afzaal told Dawn on Friday.

“However, I cannot tell you the exact percentage about lowering of the Covid-19 positive cases from these areas at present since a report is under compilation in this regard these days. But I assure you that the areas that were put under lockdown from June 16 night are reporting no new cases,” he claimed.

Claims spread of coronavirus has massively declined

Following direction of the Punjab government, the city administration in collaboration with the local police authorities had placed as many as 32 city localities / spots of nine defunct town administrations (Data Ganj Bakhsh, Shalamar, Ravi, Allama Iqbal, Gulberg, Wagah, Cantt, Aziz Bhatti and Samanabad towns) under complete lockdown, restricting mobility of the residents for 15 days till June 30. Later, the administration, following recommendation of the home and health departments further placed 40 more localities including the DHA, Gulberg, Garden Town and Walled City under lockdown, restricting mobility of the people to avert spread of the Covid-19 infection.

Talking about the methods being adopted to trace new cases and knowing about reduction or increase in the cases, the DC said the city administration’s health chapter launched collecting samples in the first 32 areas through tracing of those in contact of the Covid positive cases. “We started with sampling of the immediate family members of the positive cases. Later, we expanded the same practice to the friends, relatives and those to whom the Covid positive cases remained in contact after developing virus symptoms. In each locality we took samples of as many as 200 to 300 people. And almost all appeared to be Covid-19 negative,” he explained. “More results of samplings are expected from these areas soon.”

He said the city admin teams had also started taking samples of the people in close contact of the coronavirus positive cases reported in the areas that were placed under lockdown a couple of days before. Hopefully the spread ratio in these areas too would lower like the areas locked down before.

Talking about identification of new hotspots and the tentative plan of imposing lockdown in more areas, Mr Afzaal said it would be decided in a meeting to be held on Monday. “In this meeting the matters related to spread ratio of the areas under lockdown, emergence of new hotspots and placing them under lockdown will come under discussion. So if it is decided to impose lockdown in more areas, we will do that definitely. Moreover, the lockdown may be lifted in the areas where the situation has considerably improved,” he said.

To a question, he said the police officials deputed at entry / exit points of the locked down areas have been issued directions to allow mobility of the journalists in such areas after seeing their press / job cards.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020