LAHORE   -   Majority of general public in the provincial capital is taking precautionary measures to counter the resurgence of COVID-19, while the government and local authorities are also urging citizens to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) including maintaining social distancing, using face-masks and sanitizers while going to the public places.

The resurgence of second wave of the pandemic is hitting people hard since Oct 24. There is an alarming rise in the new cases and one of its main reasons is poor implementation of the health experts’ guidelines.

The health officials said that a majority of people, who were exposed to the disease, were those who visited crowded places, shopping malls, indoor functions, bazaars without taking preventive measures.

The mass travelling to Lahore from other cities is the main source of spread of coronavirus as no measures are taken either at the entry points of the city or in the public transport.

A physician at General Hospital Lahore told that one of the main causes of spread of the virus was non-serious attitude of people towards the virus. 

He said that one COVID-19 patient he dealt with said that he got to know some four days after attending the funeral ceremony of his uncle that the deceased’s son was not wearing mask and was seen hugging and shaking hands with the participants in the event. 

Later on, he tested positive for COVID-19, adding that almost every person attending that event risked their lives, being exposed to the infected person.

According to a field survey, the COVID-19 SOPs were being implemented at many places while some of those were not acting on the advice of the government authorities seriously.

The malls like Emporium, Packages, Mall of Lahore were seen following the SOPs including installation of sanitising gates, provision of hand-sanitiser and temperature gun for checking temperature of the visitors.

The public parks including Jilani Park (Racecourse Park) at Jail Road, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Allama Iqbal Town, Bagh-e-Jinnah at The Mall were ensuring that the visiting public should wear masks while those who did not wear face-masks were not allowed to enter the area. The security guards deputed at gates were urging people to wear masks for their own and others’ safety.

According to the survey, there were various markets including Liberty, Kareem Block market, Sadder Market, etc., where a large number of shopkeepers and buyers were not wearing face-masks. 

There was no implementation of the SOPs, no use of sanitisers and no temperature checking gadgets at the entry points of the markets and shops.

The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Sector-C police station appeared alert to implement the COVID-19 SOPs among those visiting the police station. A constable was present at the gate with hand-sanitiser to facilitate the visitors.

Various hotels and restaurants located at spots like Lorry Adda, Yateem Khana Chowk, Thokar Niaz Baig were not ensuring implementation of the SOPs. 

However, multinational companies food outlets like KFC, McDonalds’, Hardees and Pizza Hut were ensuring that customers’ safety by sanitizing their restaurants after every hour and security guard present at the gates were giving sanitizers to customers to sanitize their hands. No customer without face-mask was being entertained at these restaurants.

When contacted, a spokesperson Imran Maqbool told that the district administration had carried out various operations to ensure implementation of the corona SOPs and clear directions had been passed by Deputy Commissioner Lahore Mudasir Riaz Malik to the Assistant Commissioners concerned for imposing fine on the SOPs violations. 

He said that the district administration had been keeping a vigilant eye on the sensitive issue, adding that various branded shops and malls had been sealed over the SOPs violations and violation of the business centres timing. 

He said that various teams of district administration, under the supervision of the ACs concerned, had been inspecting schools, shopping malls, vegetables & fruit markets, etc., regularly to ensure implementation of corona SOPs and imposing heavy fines on the violators.