Another smart lockdown is set to be in force in Punjab from Monday night. The lockdown will extend till August 5th. All educational and training institutes, marriage halls, business centres, expo halls, restaurants, theme and amusement parks, play areas and arcades, beauty parlours and spas, cinemas and theatres will remain closed. Yet keeping in line with the policies of the previous smart lockdown, which are drafted to prioritise small business owners, grocery stores, bakeries, corner shops, fruit and vegetable shops, meat and milk shops and tandoors will be allowed to operate from 6 am to 12 am.

This lockdown is the need of the hour, considering that Eid is around the corner, which means that soon the streets will end up bustling with crowds of people shopping and celebrating for the religious day. This is a lesson that the government has learnt from the last Eid; coronavirus cases had surged to an alarming rate after May, due to careless socialising and failure to adhere to SOPs during Eid ul-Fitr. Thus, the government has to remain on high alert now that Eid ul-Adha is nearly here. Crowded livestock markets and distribution of meat can have the potential to become a hotbed of infection if the government does not strictly enforce SOPs and regulate the process with the utmost diligence.

So far, smart lockdowns have evidently shown to have worked. While coronavirus cases surged to an alarming high after May, the number of cases unexpectedly but thankfully fell in July. The smart lockdowns have been successful in Punjab, which is now reporting zero deaths for the first time in two months. Punjab does not want to drop the ball on this progress; this trajectory should be kept up and improved. Having seen the impact of the last few public celebrations, the government has displayed sensible foresight in imposing a lockdown beforehand; it must now ensure that this lockdown and SOPs are followed upon thoroughly.