RAWALPINDI: Eight more localities in the city have been identified as hotspots and have been recommended for smart lockdown after a large number of Covid-19 patients were detected in these areas.

The district administration has sent the recommendation to the Punjab Home Department, seeking permission to lock down these localities from June 30 to July 10. The experiment of sealing 22 other localities produced good results, a senior official said.

Under the plan, 50,920 families in the eight localities will be restricted to their homes once a go-ahead is obtained from the provincial government.

The localities are Gulzar-i-Quaid, Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Dhoke Ali Akbar, Kotha Kalan, Morgah and Takhtpari as well as Narankari Bazaar and Bara Market.

Areas to be sealed once the Punjab govt gives a go-ahead, DC says

“As the number of patients is increasing in these areas, we have recommended imposing a lockdown there,” Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq told Dawn.

He said at present the 22 localities were under a smart lockdown and 30,978 families had been restricted in their 21,420 houses.

This produced good results and the number of patients have decreased there, he added.

He said locking down eight more localities had been recommended in the light of directions from the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) and the Punjab government’s order to identify areas that are Covid-19 hotspots.

The deputy commissioner said the district government had made all arrangements to supply food and medicines in the areas to be sealed.

He said office-goers would be allowed to go to work but entry of outsiders would be strictly prohibited.

He said facilitation centres would also be established in the localities.

“Grocery stores, milk shops, pharmacies, fruit and vegetable vendors and tandoors will remain open,” he added.

On the other hand, Narankari Bazaar Traders Association President Sheikh Mohammad Sadaqat expressed resentment over the decision of the district administration and claimed that no Covid-19 case had been reported from the market in the last three months.

He said Narankari Bazaar supplied food items to the citizens in the district and its closure would disturb the supply for two weeks.

He said the administration had opened all bazaars, including fruit and vegetable markets, grain and spice markets where more rush was witnessed.

He said no warning was given to shopkeepers, and all of a sudden the administration had decided to impose the lockdown in the bazaar.

On the one hand, the administration had opened food markets while on the other a specific food market is being closed, he said, adding that traders would resist the decision.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020