LAHORE: With the number of coronavirus patients admitted to various public sector hospitals of the province reaching 623 on Wednesday, the Punjab government enforced smart lockdowns in many areas of six cities, including Lahore, over reports of hundreds of positive cases.
Other cities included Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Bhakkar. The government notified smart lockdowns in new localities of these cities from midnight on Wednesday.
“There has been a constant increase in positivity percentage and prevalence of Covid-19 across the province during the last two weeks, which poses a serious and imminent threat to public health,” reads the notification.
Hence, it is mandatory to take all possible safety measures, including enforcement of smart lockdowns in the hotspots of cities for prevention and control of this disease.
Health and medical experts said the high dependency units (HDUs) of hospitals were receiving a large number of critical patients with short breaths. If the cases continued to rise at the same pace, particularly in Lahore, the capacity of HDUs in state-run hospitals could run short because most of the patients were visiting with oxygen saturation issues.
Covid claims 17 lives in Punjab in 24 hours; 489 test positive
Presently, they said, the number of critical patients in HDUs of Lahore and some other major cities of Punjab was 110.
The Lahore authorities imposed smart lockdown in Wapda Town over 58 confirmed cases of Covid-19, Johar Town Block F2 for 24 cases as well as blocks E1, E2, F1, G2, G4 and G5; Paragon City23; DHA Phase IV, Sector FF 17 cases and sectors AA, BB and CC 29 cases; DHA Phase III, Sector XX 18 cases; Gulberg 4, blocks A and B 26 cases; DHA Phase I Sector N 11 cases; Valencia Town Block F1.
The Punjab University New Campus boys hostel No 11 was also placed under smart lockdown over reports of six positive cases of Covid-19 among students and staff. They also sealed a government high school in Model Town over reports of six cases among students.
The government had already imposed a smart lockdown in 17 localities in Lahore that would expire on Thursday (today).
Similarly in the five other cities, roads leading to the hotspots have been closed by placing barricades to restrict movement.
The government also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure implementation on the smart lockdowns. Under these SOPs, all markets, shopping malls, restaurants, offices (public and private) in these areas would remain closed.
According to the latest data on Wednesday, coronavirus claimed 17 lives of critical patients in the last 24 hours in Punjab. Of them, seven died in Multan, six in Lahore, three in Rawalpindi and one in Dera Ghazi Khan, taking the death toll in Punjab to 2,492 since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Most deaths have so far been reported in Lahore with 974, followed by 416 in Rawalpindi, 230 in Faisalabad, 172 in Multan and 102 in Sialkot. Layyah is the only district of Punjab that has not reported a single death from Covid-19 yet.
A senior official of the health department said the positivity ratio of the infection was 14 per cent in Multan that had become the worst hit by the virus in its second wave.
Meanwhile, 489 more people tested positive for the virus during the last 24 hours in Punjab. Of them, Lahore reported 259, Rawalpindi 65, while others were reported from Kasur, Layyah, Chiniot, Multan, Sialkot, Sargodha, Jhang, Khanewal, Lodhran, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Toba Tek Singh, Gujranwala, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bhakkar, Gujrat, Narowal, Vehari, Mianwali, Muzaffargarh and Sahiwal.
The total number of positive cases in Punjab has reached 111,626 with 55,480 in Lahore only.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020