ISLAMABAD: As 538 Covid-19 cases surfaced in the federal capital, the administration decided to seal 11 more residential areas and banned all gatherings, including outdoor marriages.
Moreover, educational institutions have been stopped from conducting exams. Scores of people were also arrested over violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
As per directions of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), intercity public transport has been reduced by 30pc whereas four residential areas were de-sealed after reduction in cases.
In Rawalpindi, 173 people were diagnosed with the disease on Sunday whereas 292 were discharged from hospitals after recovery. Eight people lost their lives to the disease in the district.
According to a notification issued by the district magistrate Islamabad, indoor and outdoor events, including weddings, festivals, parties, sports tournaments, social and cultural events, and religious gatherings would be banned from April 1.
Four sub-sectors G-6/2, G-10/4, F-11/1, I-8/4 and I-10/2 were de-sealed, however, these areas will be regulated and in case SOPs are violated, strict legal action will be taken.
Educational institutions stopped from conducting exams, scores of people held over violation of SOPs in twin cities
The 11 residential areas sealed on March 29 are: G-10/2, G-10/3, G-11/2, G-11/1, G-9/2, I-8/3, DHA-II, Soan Garden, PWD, Bhara Kahu and Bani Gala. Residents of these areas are yet to be informed.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and SSP Operations Dr Mustafa Tanveer visited different areas and held a media conference.
The DC said positivity of cases in the capital had reached 12pc and there were 6,000 active cases which was why strict action had to be taken.
“We have banned all kinds of activities. A number of hot spots have been identified in the city and that is why areas have been sealed. We have been trying to reduce positivity by up to 6pc by Ramazan,” he said, adding there is a complete ban on political gatherings and private school association will not be allowed to hold a long march.
Mr Shafqaat said all schools have been asked not to conduct exams and in case of violation, action will be taken against principals. “Police, which is also being infected, will ensure that the lockdown is implemented. Moreover, we have decided to reduce intercity public transport by 30pc and will ensure that SOPs are followed in public transport. The aim is to reduce number of cases,” he added.
A number of shops were sealed across the city and around two dozen persons were arrested over violation of SOPs. Offices have been instructed to reduce attendance by 50pc.
The district administration has also decided to ban entry in graveyards on Monday (today) on Shab-i-Baraat.
Separately, chairman of Young Consultants Association and Grand Health Alliance Pakistan Dr Asfandyar Khan said it was very unfortunate that during the peak of the third wave, vaccination of front-line health workers has been stopped by authorities.
“We demand immediate withdrawal of this order and start vaccination of healthcare workers immediately otherwise we will not be able to continue work in Covid isolation units because of the high rate of positive cases among health care workers,” he added.
Musharraf Hussain, 51, a resident of Kotli Sattian, was brought to Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) on March 22 and he died on Sunday.
Badarul Islam, 85, a resident of Mangral Town, died on Sunday at RIU where he was brought on March 15.
Shazia Shahid, 53, resident of Adiala Road and Khizar Hayat, 75, resident of Chaklala was shifted to RIU on March 26; both died on Sunday.
Begum Jan, 65, resident of Sadiqabad and Fouzia bibi, 36, a resident of Tench Bhatta arrived at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on March 27 where they passed away.
Areej Fatima, 13, resident of Dhoke Kala Khan was shifted to Pims on March 27 and she died on Sunday.
Liaquat Bibi, 60, resident of Taxila was shifted to Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre on March 27 where she died on Sunday.
As many as 51 of the new patients were from cantonment, 47 arrived from Potohar Town and 28 from Rawal Town. Nine patients are from Gujar Khan, five from Taxila, two each from Murree and Kotli Sattian, one from Kallar Syedan and 22 from Kahuta; two patients arrived from Islamabad and one each from Jhelum, Chakwal and AJK.
In Rawalpindi district, there are 2,001 active patients out of whom 184 are in hospitals including 85 who arrived from other districts. As many as 1,817 patients are home isolated and 577 patients are waiting for the results of their Covid-19 serology.
As many as 29 patients are admitted in Holy Family Hospital, 32 in Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), 99 in Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU), 31 in Fauji Foundation Hospital (FFH), two patients in Hearts International Hospital and three at Begum Akhter Rukhsana Hospital.
Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that there are 19 patients on ventilators in Rawalpindi, 101 are on oxygen support and 76 are stable.
60 held for violating SOPs
Police have launched a crackdown against those violating the Covid-19 restrictions and arrested 60 people after registration of 43 cases in various police stations on Sunday.
All those arrested were found violating the government restrictions imposed to bring down the spread of the coronavirus.
A police spokesman said the Cantt police registered 10 cases and arrested 10 people, Airport police registered five cases and rounded up 13 violators, RA Bazaar police registered three cases and put one person behind bars.
He said the Morgah police registered four cases and arrested as many people, Saddar Wah police with four cases put behind bars four people and Racecourse police arrested one person after registering a case against him. Moreover, Westridge police station registered two cases and arrested four persons, Saddar division police registered 23 cases and arrested 23 people for violating SOPs and ignoring government orders.
Similarly, police in Gujar Khan, Jatli, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian also registered cases and arrested the violators of the restrictions.The spokesman said the arrested people were booked after they were found violating the restrictions in bazaars, shops and hotels.
A public sector hospital in Attock ran out of beds for new patients as the district witnessed a spike in Covid-19 infections. As many as 84 people were diagnosed with the disease during the last two days.
Deputy Commissioner Ali Annan Qammar urged masses to adopt preventive measures like wearing masks as number of positive cases has increased during the last two days. He said District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital corona ward has 20 beds and 4 ventilators to accommodate. Peads and dental wards are being vacated to accommodate more patients in the first phase of arrangements while in the second phase, other wards would also be vacated, Mr Qammar said, adding patients diagnosed with coronavirus will be treated at DHQ hospital while OPD facility will be shifted to the proposed site of Mother and Child hospital.
The administration’s first priority is to save the livelihoods of people from the pandemic, however, tougher restrictions might be imposed if the current trend continues in the district, he said.
District Health Authority Chief Executive Dr Jawad Ellahi said 12 oxygen tanks were utilised for coronavirus patients admitted at the hospital. He said six different Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) hospitals of the district are also being directed to accommodate virus patients.
He said Attock witnessed the second highest spike of Covid-19 cases of the month as 32 new cases were reported in the district on Sunday. Dr Ellahi said among these new cases, 26 belong to Attock, three each belong to Hazro and Pindigheb. The number of active patients in the district also surged to 2,015 whereas five suspected patients are also admitted in DHQ hospital.
Responding to a question about the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the district, he said so far 2,197 front line health workers were registered out of whom 1,847 have been vaccinated. Around 5,475 people got themselves registered out of whom 1,525 have been inoculated.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Zunira Jalil has launched a crackdown against shopkeepers violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) and imposed fines over them. She urged traders to adopt all possible precautionary measures against coronavirus and follow SOPs issued by the Punjab government. — Additional reporting by Amjad Iqbal
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2021