The Punjab government has announced some changes in its four-day lockdown in eight districts of the province.
It has now allowed markets in these smog hotspot districts to open today and tomorrow. The Punjab Department of Primary Healthcare has also issued an amendment notification.
As per details of the new partial lockdown, markets, shops and shopping malls have been allowed to remain open today and tomorrow in the eight districts of Punjab where smog levels have been found to be the highest and that are potential hotspots for conjunctivitis (eye infection).
However, the shops and markets will remain closed on Saturday and Sunday, the notification said. It said the decision applied to Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot districts.
Moreover, restaurants, cinemas, gyms, public and private schools, colleges, and universities, and offices will remain closed from Thursday to Sunday on account of Iqbal Day.
On Wednesday, the provincial government had declared a smart lockdown to tackle the escalating air pollution levels and an alarming increase in conjunctivitis cases.
A notification issued by the health department raised the red flag, citing the escalating threat of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
The notification read, "The spread of Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye due to bacterial or viral infection, smoke, dust, or chemical exposure is increasing day by day, which poses a serious and imminent threat to public health."
Recognizing the importance of maintaining critical services, the government outlined exemptions for key personnel. Judges, lawyers, court staff, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, essential service providers, WASAs, municipalities, WAPDA, NTDC, DISCOs, and SNGPL were among those exempted from the lockdown restrictions.