LAHORE - A serious outbreak of COVID-19 across Punjab has forced the provincial authorities to impose smart lockdown in parts of cities most affected by the disease.  

The decision comes following a significant surge in the number of positive coronavirus cases besides an alarming increase in the COVID-19 positivity ratio in the major cities of the province. In Multan, it was recorded as high as 15.97 per cent followed by Lahore and Rawalpindi where the same was found to be over 5 percent.   

The Cabinet Committee for Anti-Corona which met here on Monday showed its utmost concern over the rapid increase in the number of patients in the province and decided to impose smart lockdown in areas with corona cases. The meeting took strict notice of the violation of corona SOPs in some markets and bazaars and decided to close them immediately.

Provincial Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid told the meeting that out of 418 patients currently under treatment in public hospitals 76 were in critical condition. She further informed that ample stock of essential medicines and PPE was available in hospitals to cope with any emergent situation.  She said the health department will buy more PCR kits for corona tests.

Mian Aslam Iqbal said that all necessary measures will be taken to deal with the second wave of coronavirus. He further stated that the numbers of corona patients were increasing mainly due to the public indifference to wear the mask.  He said trader organizations will be bound to enforce wearing masks in markets and bazaars.

The meeting agreed to evolve a strategy for the best management of the beds in the hospitals and for this purpose a separate dashboard will be set up which will provide all the information regarding beds in the hospital. It was also decided in the meeting to declare Rawalpindi Institute of Urology as Corona hospital. The proposal for introducing rapid tests was also reviewed in the meeting. The technical group will present final recommendations in this regard.

The meeting decided to set up a committee under the leadership of Dr Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam to finalise SOPs for the marriage halls and marquees which will present its final recommendations within 24 hours.

 

Provincial Ministers Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Special Assistant to CM for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, SMBR, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Commissioner Lahore Division, Secretary Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education, Secretary Primary & Secondary Health, high ranking civil and military officers attended the meeting. Commissioners of Multan and Rawalpindi divisions participated through video link.

 

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Monday said that keeping in view the increasing coronavirus cases it was decided to impose smart lockdown in the affected areas. He said that wearing a mask had been declared compulsory and directions were issued for the strict implementation of wearing the mask in the markets and bazaars.

 

The Chief Minister said that all necessary steps would be taken to protect the lives of the people of the province. He said that directions had been issued to the administration and the police for controlling the second wave of corona pandemic. He said that the lives of the citizens were most important for the government and no negligence will be tolerated in this regard.

 

He said that the number of active corona patients in Punjab had reached 6876 while 345 confirmed coronavirus patients have been reported from different cities. He said one patient has died during the last 24 hours. He further said that 9406 corona diagnostic tests had been conducted which took the number of tests to 1680320 in Punjab. “So far, 97638 corona patients out of 106922 have recovered whereas 2408 corona patients have died in Punjab”, he said.