LAHORE: The provincial cabinet committee for corona control, which held its meeting on the direction of the chief minister on Tuesday, has decided “in-principle” to open industries, restaurants, marriage halls, cinemas and other sectors, but linked the final decision in this regard to a nod from the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) at the federal level.
The committee further decided that the provincial cabinet would forward its recommendations to the NCOC for ending the lockdown and reopen gyms, indoor sports, beauty salons and clinics etc in Punjab.
The final decision regarding opening of tourist resorts in the province, including Murree, will also be made by the NCOC. Similarly, the industries linked to construction activity will be allowed to function in Punjab, while a special meeting of the cabinet committee for corona control will be called for taking a decision regarding opening the educational institutions.
The meeting was briefed that the number of virus-positive cases had dropped to two to three per cent of total tests being conducted in Punjab.
According to the provincial health authorities, during the last 24 hours, five patients have died while 39 coronavirus cases have been reported in Punjab.
However, despite opening of businesses, the province will keep 3,000 beds in hospitals reserved for any potential Covid-19 patients. The hospitals will resume routine medical services after being declared virus-free by the health authorities.
Provincial ministers Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Hashim Jawan Bakht, chief secretary, senior member of the Board of Revenue (SMBR), health secretaries, information secretary, Lahore deputy commissioner, Punjab Food Authority director general and other officials attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered the launch of an effective campaign against artificial price-hike and hoarding by activating price-control committees at the district level.
In a circular issued on Tuesday, the provincial minister and head of price-control taskforce Aslam Iqbal and chief secretary have been directed to activate the price-control committees and ensure provision of essential items to the people at fixed rates.
He ordered the district price-control committees to monitor the essential items’ rates and check hoarding. Similarly, the task force has been ordered to devise measures to curb the price hike.
The CM reiterated that people could not be left at the mercy of hoarders. “I will personally monitor action against artificial price-hike, hoarding and illegal profiteering as these are an enemy of society as well as the law. I will personally check the rates of essential items through surprise monitoring and no one will be forgiven if negligence is proved,” he warned.
A meeting of the provincial price-control task force has been called to review the steps for providing relief to the masses.
Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2020