LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to enforce “smart lockdown” in the province in a couple of days to curtail spread of the coronavirus pandemic on the occasion of Eidul Azha in the light of the federal government’s directives.
Presiding over a meeting held here on Sunday to review the arrangements for the enforcement of the “smart lockdown” and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the cattle markets, Chief Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik said the protection of human lives was of utmost importance to the government and all possible steps, including strict implementation of SOPs in cattle markets, would be taken to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The meeting, held at chief secretary’s camp office at 9-Aikman Road, was attended by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Momin Agha, Inspector General of Police Shoaib Dastgir, primary and secondary healthcare department secretary retired Capt Muhammad Usman, Lahore Division Commissioner (holds charge) Danish Afzal and Deputy Inspector General (Operations), Lahore, Ashfaq Ahmad Khan. Punjab local government and community development department secretary Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi, all divisional commissioners and regional police officers (RPOs) participated through video-link.
The chief secretary said smart lockdowns in Lahore and other affected cities of the province had yielded positive results and the number of new coronavirus cases continued to subside since then.
He said the shopping activities in the markets before Eidul Azha could intensify the spread of Covid-19, adding that keeping in view the experience of last Eidul Fitr, it had been decided in the larger
Strict enforcement of Covid SOPs ordered
public interest to enforce smart lockdowns ahead of the upcoming religious festival.
The chief secretary asked all the divisional commissioners to strictly enforce SOPs, including wearing masks and ban on entry of elderly persons and children in the cattle markets.
He said officials of the health department, local government, and livestock must be deployed in the cattle markets and joint teams of administration and law enforcement agencies should be formed for carrying out inspections.
In order to ensure social distancing, the chief secretary directed that only a specific number of people should be allowed to enter the cattle markets as per the capacity of such premises, besides setting up special counters at the entry points forscreening of suspected patients of Covid-19.
He also issued instructions to officers to continue the anti-dengue activities in Lahore and other cities, asking them to also prepare a solid waste management plan for Eid.
IG Shoaib Dastgir directed the RPOs to ensure foolproof security, social distancing and other precautionary measures for Eid prayer congregations.
The meeting decided to empower the deputy commissioners to extend the working hours of cattle markets in the districts as and when required.
The LG&CD department secretary informed the meeting that apart from temporary sale points, there existed 300 cattle markets in the province. He said the officers of district administration and the local government department were regularly monitoring these markets.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2020