Smart lockdowns in Karachi city not to be extended beyond 15-day period

Published December 15, 2020
In this file photo, a paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nose-swab sample to be tested for the coronavirus in Karachi. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, a paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nose-swab sample to be tested for the coronavirus in Karachi. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: The city administration has decided not to extend “mini smart lockdowns” in any part of the metropolis once the notified period of 15 days is completed as results have showed a positive impact of the curbs in containing the spread of Covid-19 among residents of the neighbourhoods currently under lockdown, officials said on Monday.

They said that the city administration with the beginning of the second wave of Covid-19 started imposing mini and smart lockdown in different parts of Karachi and during the past one month different neighbourhoods of almost all districts were placed under the lockdown restrictions on advice of health experts and authorities concerned.

The lockdowns, they said, were imposed for 15 days in line with the rules set by the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) and it had so far proved effective.

Result-oriented strategy

“During summer and in the first wave of the pandemic, we followed the same guidelines for smart lockdowns,” said an official. “But at that time we had extended the duration once or twice so the smart lockdowns in several parts of the city remained in place for a month or so. This time, however, in all districts of the city the lockdown period was not extended and restrictions were lifted after two weeks. The strategy has so far proved effective and result-oriented.”

The strategy to impose curbs in select areas proves effective as Covid-19 cases are on decline, say officials

He said under the mini-smart lockdown assistant commissioners were directed to make a plan and enforce it in letter and spirit and penalise the violators of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in accordance with the home department’s order.

“When a notification is issued for the lockdown in any area, it also carries details of the SOPs to be enforced regarding anyone entering or exiting the areas concerned, [such as] wearing a mask and movement of residents shall be strictly restricted. It allows only grocery shops or convenience stores and pharmacies to remain open in these areas during timings specified in the home department’s order while all other business activities shall strictly remain closed without any exceptions,” he added.

The district administrations took police support for implementation of the mini or smart lockdowns and largely it was observed that the areas under the restrictions were kept under strict vigilance of the law enforcement agency and municipal administration, said the official.

Curbs to be lifted in days

“Currently a few areas in South and Central districts are facing mini and smart lockdowns,” he said. “The lockdown would be lifted by the end of this week once the 15-day period is completed. We see it as a good sign that such restrictions helped containing the spread of virus and number of Covid-19 patients from these areas started declining.”

He said during the smart lockdown all kind of industrial units falling in the area also remained closed while no home delivery or takeaway of any sort was allowed from restaurants and fast food joints.

“Only one person of each household is usually allowed outside for buying food items and medicines by displaying original CNIC to the law enforcement agencies. Only one attendant, where extremely necessary, is allowed with a person in need of medical care,” added the official citing details of the advisory of the SOPs.

“The mini and smart lockdowns also ban private and family get-togethers even at homes and pillion riding shall be strictly banned while public transport including buses, taxis, rickshaws and ride-hailing services are also banned in these areas,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2020

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