LAHORE: Keeping in view the worsening Covid-19 situation, the government has decided to place Lahore under a complete lockdown on Saturday and Sunday (May 1 and 2).
The lockdown restrictions will not be applicable to the industry operating under coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs).
On the other hand, the Lahore City District Administration urged the public at large to wear masks and ensure social distancing protocols to avert the further spread of the infection as the city witnessed 14,000 news cases out of which 226 people died during the last seven days.
“It will be a complete lockdown as the entire retail and other sectors, except the industry, will remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. Only a few retail outlets such as petrol pumps, milk / vegetable / fruit / meat shops and pharmacies are exempted from this two-day lockdown. We can call Saturday and Sunday as closed days,” Lahore Commissioner retired Capt Muhammad Usman told Dawn.
“Even mohallah shops are not allowed to open on Saturday and Sunday and people are required to better stay indoors instead of going outside unnecessarily,” he advised. The entire intercity/provincial transport would also remain suspended, he said.
“I am not seeing improvement in the next 10 to 15 days as the Covid situation has reached an extreme level. I fear it may go up in the coming days if the people continue ignoring the guidelines,” he maintained.
He said the public gatherings or major events such as Youm-i-Ali, Yaum-ul-Quds and Jummatul Wida (last Friday of Ramazan) may increase the number of Covid patients. “That is why we are taking measures such as lockdowns to stop further spread,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lahore DC Mudassir Riaz Malik warns the people of action for not following Covid SOPs.
Speaking at a press conference at Charing Cross (The Mall), the DC said Lahore reported 14,082 new cases during the last seven days. Of them, he said, 226 people had lost their lives. “Yesterday 832 new cases were reported in Lahore. Out of these, 18 people lost their lives,” he added.
He said in all public hospitals, 2,109 beds are allocated for the Covid patients alone. Of these, 1,009 beds are occupied while the remaining 1,100 are lying empty. Of the 321 ventilators, 227 are being used. He said the administration had placed 59 areas under lockdown during the last 30 days and 15 were still under lockdown.
Answering a question, the DC said registration for vaccination of people aged 40 and above was under way. “For this we have started establishing 10 more vaccination centres in various government schools situated at Ghoray Shah, Wahdat Road, Rattigan, Tajpura, Cantt, Raiwind, Kahna Nu, Gujjarpura and Jallo Morr,” he added.
The DC said 322,415 people in Lahore had been vaccinated. About Covid SOPs enforcement, he said 449 shops were sealed from April 13 to 30.
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021