LAHORE                  -               A day after Sindh government imposed a complete lockdown across the province, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar announced to enforce 14-day partial lockdown in the Punjab from Tuesday (today) as 21 new cases of corona were detected in the province.

Addressing a news conference through video-link, the Chief Minister proclaimed that shopping malls, bazaars, markets, private and public sector institutions, public transport, parks, restaurants and tourist-spots will remain closed for two weeks. He said that the step was taken to ensure safety of public from coronavirus.

Briefing the media about the decisions made in the Cabinet Committee for anti-coronavirus, the Chief Minister said that medical stores, karyana stores, fruit and vegetable markets, bakeries, mutton, chicken and milk shops as well as pharmacies will remain open throughout the province. 

Similarly, he added, factories manufacturing and supplying eatables, medicines, medical equipment and necessary items will also remain open. He further stated that essential service providers including WASA, WAPDA and telecom companies will continue to work and Edhi and other welfare organizations will also be permitted to continue their work.

He said that Punjab government had also decided to impose ban on pillion riding. However, members of law enforcement agencies and families will be exempted from this ban, he further told the media.

To a question, he replied that a committee headed by Finance Minister will present its recommendations to ameliorate the economic difficulties of daily wage earners in the Cabinet meeting to be held on March 24th.

He also clarified that it was not a curfew or lockdown type situation but the step had been taken to maintain social distancing. “Doctors, as well as paramedical staff, are frontline soldiers and the decision about their package will be made in the Cabinet meeting”, he told another questioner.

The Chief Minister announced that line departments will perform their duties in case of any violation of government’s directives as Section 144 had been imposed in the province. Giving details about the number of corona patients in Punjab, he told that out of a total of 246 coronavirus patients in Punjab, 171 had been quarantined in DG Khan. 

He thanked the people for abiding by the government appeal of staying at homes for two days, adding, that it was the best way to avoid coronavirus.

He also paid tributes to Pakistan Army, civil administration, medical staff and Local Bodies’ employees and media for performing their duties in this hour of trial. Answering another question, he said that food items were available in abundance. “There is no shortage and supply-chain of eatables will continue in Punjab”, he said. Provincial Ministers Raja Basharat, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan, Mussarat Jamshed Cheema MPA and Secretaries of Information and Health departments were also present.