LAHORE - Punjab government has extended lockdown in the province till 25th of April while deciding to immediately re-open the low-risk sectors by ensuring implementation of SOPs to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Secretary Punjab Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan. Commissioner Lahore Saif Anjum, CCPO Zulfiqar Hameed and officers concerned attended the meeting whereas Inspector General of Police Shoaib Dastgir, divisional commissioners and regional police officers joined through video link.

Chief Secretary announced that the lockdown in the province would continue till 25th of April and keeping in view financial problems of daily wagers decision had been taken to open several low-risk sectors including chemical industries, IT companies, individual shops (Standalone) of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tailors, veterinary services, and offices of real estate and property dealers.

He said that books and stationery shops, glass manufacturing industry, paper and packaging industry, and botanical nurseries had been exempted from restrictions. he said that mines and mineral concerns related to road sector and grey structure buildings (construction sites, brick kilns, stone quarries, bitumen plants etc) had been allowed to operate. Engineers and Architect services and construction work in road sector had also been granted permission to operate, he added.

The meeting decided that the work would continue in sectors and industries already declared exempted from restrictions with the condition of following the SOPs and sectors and shops to be opened would also be bound to adopt the prescribed preventive measures against coronavirus. Implementation of instructions regarding availability of masks and sanitizers at shops and offices would be ensured. It was decided that the ban on public transport would not be lifted and labour and other persons would use their own private means of transportation.

The meeting also reviewed wheat procurement campaign in the province. It was briefed that wheat harvest in 21 district had started. The Chief Secretary ordered the administrative secretaries of food and agriculture departments to visit districts to oversee wheat procurement. He said that farmers should be given all possible facilities in wheat harvest and provision of Bardana (gunny bags).

The Chief Secretary also issued directions regarding nominating Commissioner Lahore Saif Anjum as focal person for matters related to foreigners kept in quarantine.