Cities with 12% positivity rate to be shut from Apr 1: CM

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Stressed Still govt does not want to shut down businesses and seeks people’s cooperation


Amraiz Khan

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Monday cautioned that the government may opt for complete lockdown in Punjab cities where coronavirus positivity rate has been recorded at 12 percent or more from April 1.

Talking to mediapersons here n Monday, the chief minister said the third wave of the coronavirus is far more lethal and serious than the previous two.

“The situation in Punjab’s cities like Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi is alarming and the positivity rate alone in Lahore has touched 21 percent,” he regretted and added that it has rang the alarm bells.

CM Buzdar informed that the Punjab Cabinet’s Anti-Corona Committee in view of the deteriorating situation of Covid-19 cases in Punjab, has decided to impose lockdown in cities with a rate of more than 12 percent.

“The committee, in principle, reached the decision to rein in the situation and protect public against the looming threat”, CM Buzdar pointed out and stressed: Still, we do not want to shut down businesses, nor we are doing so.”

At the same time, however, we want people to cooperate with us because it is the matter of saving people’s lives,” he asserted.

The chief minister, however, made it clear that complete lockdown did not mean bringing all kinds of business activities to a complete halt.

As per the NCOC figures on Monday, Lahore (17%), Rawalpindi (15%), Faisalabad (15%), Sargodha (12%), Sialkot (12%), and Multan (12%) are cities with 12% positivity ratio.

Punjab Chief Secretary also warned the commissioners and deputy commissioners of registering FIRs against them in case of non-compliance with the Anti-Corona Cabinet Committee orders on lockdown restrictions.

He said there will be a ban on wedding ceremonies from April 1 while the public transport, including Orange Line Metro train as well as Metro and Speedo bus services, will also remain closed.

CM Buzdar said restaurants will be allowed to offer only takeaway services. “We are facing a third Covid wave that is far more dangerous,” the chief minister pointed out.

He stressed the need for wearing face masks at public places and warned that those without mask could face legal action. He said a total of 126 vaccination centres have been set up across the province.

Markets will be closed by 6 pm. There will be a complete ban on indoor and outdoor weddings events from today (Monday). Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) and Metro Bus Service will remain closed in the lockdown.

The committee has decided to put on the outdoor and indoor catering in restaurants and only take away service has been allowed. It has been denounced that 10 persons will not be able to gather at one point.

During the meeting, Lahore Division Commissioner Capt (r) Muhammad Usman suggested to the provincial committee led by Punjab CM to contain the third wave of the coronavirus in Punjab.

Upon which the chair urged the members to draw a clear line of action to overcome the pandemic.

It is to be noted that the Punjab government announced the lockdown restrictions a day after the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced imposing lockdown in Covid-19 hotspots from Monday (today) along with a complete ban on all kinds of indoor and outdoor activities from April 5.

This was decided in a special meeting of the NCOC headed by Planning Minister Asad Umar and attended by all provincial chief secretaries. The NCOC will be providing maps of the latest Covid-19 hotspots to the provinces.

It has also empowered the provinces to clamp lockdown restrictions even before the time. All kinds of political, cultural, sports and social gatherings are banned from March 29 (Monday).

Meanwhile, CM Usman Buzdar said that 20 million children of less than five years of age will be administered anti-polio drops by a contingent of 120,000, polio workers during a five day long drive being started today in 36 districts of the province.