LAHORE: A special meeting of the Apex Committee held here on Thursday recommended a ban on all political, social, cultural and religious gatherings in the province as a precautionary measure against further spread of the novel coronavirus.
The ban will, however, come into force after a formal nod by a technical team to be formed for the purpose, said Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who chaired the meeting, which was also attended by Lahore Corps Commander Lt-Gen Majid Ehsan, General Officer Commanding 10-Div Maj-Gen Muhammad Aniqur Rehman Malik, Punjab Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Muhammad Amir Majeed and other high-ranking military officials.
Provincial ministers Raja Basharat, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Special Assistant for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chief Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik, and high command of police, education, health and information departments were also in attendance.
The meeting decided strict implementation of Covid SOPs, especially wearing face masks and zero tolerance for any violation.
It was further decided that an effective public awareness campaign would also be run in this regard.
It recommended quarantine for the people coming from abroad, especially from India, and a ban on all political, social, cultural and religious gatherings in the province.
The restriction has been suggested at a time when the 11-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is going to hold a public meeting in Lahore on Dec 13.
The Apex Committee also recommended restricting the number of invitees to weddings at open places.
The meeting also mulled over a proposal to reserve some hospitals, especially in southern Punjab, for coronavirus patients, besides early start of winter vacation in the educational institutions of the province.
The meeting reviewed in detail the measures taken to overcome the second wave of the coronavirus.
The participants expressed concern over increasing corona cases and the resultant death rate.
The participants agreed to chalk out an effective strategy in advance, keeping in view the possible future situation with regard to the coronavirus.
Lt-Gen Ehsan assured the provincial government of all possible cooperation by the army to counter the national challenge.
Mr Buzdar said the government would continue to take steps for protecting the lives of the people and also urged the masses to act like responsible citizens in this situation.
He said a final decision on banning all kinds of public gatherings would be taken by the technical team after reviewing all the recommendations, while the government would ensure implementation of the decisions taken by the team.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2020