LAHORE: The Punjab government has imposed a lockdown in seven high-burdened cities of the province, restricting movement of the people to their homes, following intensity of the third wave of the Covid-19.
The major lockdown will start from Monday (tomorrow) for two weeks in the seven cities after a gap of a year. During the first wave of the infection in March 2020, the government had imposed a complete lockdown across the province.
The Punjab government repeated the practice in seven cities, following a massive surge in the coronavirus cases, primarily due to the UK variant of the virus.
All gatherings, dining, movement inside/outside districts banned; markets to shut by 6pm in rest of province
While issuing a notification on Saturday, the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department said a major lockdown had been imposed in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Gujrat, restricting the movement of the people within these districts and outside them. There shall also be a complete ban on gatherings of all kinds for social, religious or other purposes at any place, public or private, in these seven cities. All types of marriage and banquet halls, community centres and marquees will remain closed in these cities. There shall be a complete ban on all kinds of indoor gatherings while outdoor gatherings shall with upper limit of 50 people in the seven cities.
The government stated that there shall be a complete ban on indoor and outdoor dining in the seven cities while only takeaway and home delivery shall be allowed.
The upper limit for outdoor gatherings in the rest of province is 300 people in the rest of the province for the maximum duration of two hours.
“All kind of sports, cultural and other activities and events shall remain banned throughout the province,” reads the notification.
The health department stated the lockdown had been imposed after approval from Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
It stated that under the new decision, all commercial activities, establishments, and markets throughout the province shall be closed by 6pm on weekdays and shall remain completely closed on weekends, i.e. Saturdays and Sundays.
However, all medical services, pharmacies, medical stores, bakeries, general stores, milk/meat/chicken shops, tandoors, fruit, vegetables, courier services, driver hotels, patrol pumps, etc would remain exempt from these restrictions.
Amusement parks throughout the province shall close by 6pm each day while all private and public offices and establishments shall follow the policy of work from home for 50pc of their staff throughout the province.
The notification further reads that all cinemas and shrines shall remain closed throughout the province.
The industrial activities shall remain exempt from operation of this order, which shall remain in force till March 29, according to the notification.
Meanwhile, with the constant surge in the number of the Covid cases, the Punjab government enforced smart lockdown in 36 more localities of three cities, including Lahore, on Saturday.
Of the three cities, the lockdown was imposed in 17 areas of Gujrat, 16 of Lahore and four hotspots of Rawalpindi.
In Lahore, the smart lockdown was imposed in many streets, localities and blocks of Cantonment Board, Nishtar Town, Samanabad, Shalimar and Wagah areas.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2021