Islamabad reimposes ‘mini smart’ lockdown

Published October 11, 2020
A deserted view of a weekly bazaar during lockdown in Islamabad on July 8. — APP/File
A deserted view of a weekly bazaar during lockdown in Islamabad on July 8. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Four weeks after regular activities resumed in the federal capital, the local administration on Saturday decided to reimpose a ‘mini smart lockdown’ in various areas after an increase in Covid-19 cases was reported in the city.

The order was issued by the national health services (NHS) ministry under whi­ch a number of streets wou­ld be sealed on Sunday morning.

The order stated that teams of the District Health Office (DHO) had carried out surveillance in different sectors and observed that coronavirus cases were rising in streets 38, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 and Sawan Road in G-10/4.

A similar trend was seen in streets 25 and 29 in I-8/2 and streets 85 and 89 in G-9/4, the order said, adding that the DHO teams were conducting sampling in these areas so that residents could be quarantined to avoid further transmission of the virus.

It is, therefore, recomme­nded that the streets be sea­led as per the criteria set un­d­er smart lockdown, the directive said, adding that DHO surveillance teams wo­u­ld carry out extensive sam­­plings in other areas as well.

The Sindh government had recently imposed mini smart lockdown in various neighbourhoods in Karachi, including Manghopir, Creek Vista Apartment in Phase VIII of DHA and sub-division of Saddar after continued increase in coronavirus cases.

Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat told Dawn that due to the prevailing situation, authorities were imposing a mini smart lockdown in residential compounds and streets where infections were increasing.

He said the step was being taken to prevent the spread of the virus after surveillance revealed that some streets in G-9, G-10 and I-8 were becoming hotspots of the pandemic.

The decision will be enforced on Sunday, with residents being advised to buy essential items, the DC said, adding that police had also been informed.

He said areas in five more localities, including G-8 and Bhara Kahu, were also emerging as hotspots, which would be sealed.

The ratio of positive cases was high among people from other areas who had recently returned to Islamabad for studies or work after restrictions were lifted, Mr Shafqaat claimed, attributing the rise in infections to violations of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Meanwhile, the capital administration sealed two more schools - Islamabad Model School for Girls, G-11/2, and Islamabad Model School for Girls, G-7/3-2.

Mr Shafqaat said since Sept 14, the administration had sealed 19 educational institutions after their staff and students tested positive for the virus.

He said 173 business centres were inspected on Saturday out of which 32 restaurants and hotels, 47 shops and a workshop were sealed for violating SOPs.

Warnings were also issued to 17 wedding halls that were found ignoring health protocols, Mr Shafqaat said, adding that action would begin against violators from tomorrow (Monday).

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2020

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