Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has on Monday said that the provincial government has decided to seal the worst-hit areas by novel coronavirus in Lahore for two weeks.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the health minister said that the most affected areas – including Cantt, Shad Bagh, Mozang, Nishtar Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Harbanspura, Gulberg, Walled City and parts of Shahdara – will be sealed by tomorrow night at 12 while grocery and medical stores will remain open.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to take steps in the worst-hit areas of Lahore as the city has become the biggest issue. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are not being followed here.

“The pandemic is spreading rapidly in the provincial capital. Over 250 coronavirus cases were reported in Wapda Town and 358 in Johar Town.

“People should strictly follow SOPs. Wearing facemasks can reduce the COVID-19 spread by 50 percent. It is regrettable that we are compared with New Zealand. The government will decide to de-seal the areas after analyzing the situation.”

On the other hand, Pakistan has confirmed 97 deaths by novel coronavirus in one day as the number of positive cases has surged to 144,478. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 2,729.