LAHORE: As the “15-day smart lockdown” in seven cities of the province ended on Tuesday midnight, the Punjab government has empowered the deputy commissioners to decide “if further extension in any particular areas” under their jurisdiction is required.
The district administration of Lahore extended lockdown in areas identified in the June 15 order. They include Shahdra, Mazang, Shad Bagh, Harbanspura, Old Lahore, Nishtar Town, Cantt, Allama Iqbal Town and Gulberg.
A meeting presided over by Senior Minister Aleem Khan was held at Chief Secretary’s Office to review strategy [after lockdown], prices and essential medicines and security arrangements across the province in the backdrop of the terrorist attack in Karachi.
However, a notification later in the afternoon by the primary health department clarified that those businesses, which were closed before the start of the “smart lockdown,” would stay closed till July 15. They include educational and training institutions, marriage halls, restaurants (except for takeaways and home delivery), business centres, cinemas and theatres. The ban on sporting (indoor and outdoor), social and religious events shall also continue. Inter-city transport would keep plying and grocery and medical stores would stay open as before smart lockdown in seven cities of the province.
“Only the conditions of the smart lockdown have been lifted and they must not be confused with general lockdown that had been in place much before the term was introduced,” says an official of the primary health department, adding: “It does not mean that lockdown is being lifted.”.
Speaking at the earlier meeting, the chief secretary said after the end of the smart lockdown Tuesday night, the deputy commissioners would decide whether to seal or open the affected localities, keeping in view the number of cases of coronavirus in their districts. He directed the administrative officers to notify at least four pharmacies in the districts to ensure the availability of medicines used in the treatment of Covid-19. In case of a high number of patients, more than four pharmacies could also be notified, he added.
It was decided in the meeting that these notified pharmacies would work round the clock and would be advertised in the media for public awareness. The health secretary informed the meeting that there was no shortage of essential medicines in the province. The meeting also decided to take stern action against plasma sellers.
Briefing about the law and order situation, IG Punjab Shoaib Dastgir said security was on a high alert in the province after the attack on Karachi Stock Exchange and additional police personnel were being deployed at all sensitive places. The chief secretary also issued instructions to the field officers to identify the places for setting up cattle markets outside the cities and send a report.
Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020