LAHORE: The Punjab government has cautioned the divisional commissioners and regional police officers (RPOs) about the possibility of “resurgence of the Covid-19 across the province” because of the rampant violations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the markets after it lifted the lockdown in the province.
The government, taking notice of relaxed attitude of the administration and police towards enforcement of the Covid SOPs in the markets, shopping malls and plazas in province, told the commissioners and the RPOs to follow the official guidelines to prevent resurgence of the deadly virus which has played havoc all over the world.
The province-wide alert was issued amid some disturbing reports that the virus which was on the decline these days, could resurge if preventive measures were not taken, particularly in view of mourners gathering in the upcoming month of Muharram.
An official privy to the development said the health experts, doctors and researchers had warned the Punjab government that at a time when the pandemic’s first wave was not yet over, a second wave could be devastating if the SOPs were not followed in letter and spirit.
The threat was more potent for the provincial capital that had been on the top among the coronavirus hotspots in the province, reporting the highest number of deaths and confirmed cases.
“Even though the Covid-19 cases are on the decline, the public health threat still exists and the disease may spread again if adequate precautions are not taken”, reads a letter of the primary & secondary healthcare department, Punjab.
Addressed to all the RPOs and the divisional commoners of the province, the letter was written by P&SHD Secretary retired Capt Mohamamd Usman on Thursday, following serious complaints regarding non-compliance of the Punjab government’s SOPs to curtail the virus.
Showing his serious reservations about the ‘negligent behaviour of the senior officers’ during the crisis, he emphasised on the Punjab government’s SOPs to help eradicate the virus.
“It has been observed that the SOPs in the markets, shopping malls, and plazas are not being followed and implementation activities have also slowed down”, reads the letter. It further states that the Punjab government has allowed reopening of various sectors subject to observance of the SOPs.
“Furthermore, this department’s order dated June 20 regarding use of face covering at all public places, during travel and conduct of any business, private or official, is still intact and face covering is mandatory to curb the spread of Covid-19”, reads the letter.
While hinting at the possibility of a second wave of the virus, the secretary stressed the need to adhere to the guidelines to acknowledge the efforts of the Punjab government which slowed down the Covid-19 spread across the province.
“Foregoing in view, it is requested that the compliance of SOPs and face covering usage to prevent Covid-19 spread may be ensured in true letter and spirit to avoid a second wave of the virus in Punjab”, the letter concludes.
Meanwhile, 150 new cases of the virus were reported during the last 24 hours in the province, while two deaths from Covid-19 also occurred during the same period in Punjab.
According to the figures released by the P&SHD on Thursday, 47 new cases were reported from Lahore where the total number of the confirmed cases reached 48,076.
Similarly, two more deaths were also reported in Lahore where the virus has so far claimed lives of 835 people, the highest death toll in any district of the province so far.
The official figures further showed that Punjab’s total number of confirmed virus cases reached 94,865, whereas the death toll was 2,179 so far.
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020