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Third COVID-19 wave: Punjab imposes lockdown in virus hotspots

Province has reported 1,239 cases in last 24 hours

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: Mar 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago

Photo: Online

The Punjab government has started taking strict measures as the UK-variant of the coronavirus continues to spread in the province.

The province reported 1,239 cases of the novel virus in the last 24 hours. Eight hundred cases were reported in Lahore, 73 in Rawalpindi, 19 in Gujranwala, and 122 in Faisalabad.

Related: Lahore, Islamabad schools to be closed for two weeks

On Friday, the government enforced a two-week smart lockdown in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, and Rawalpindi.

The following instructions were issued:

  • Markets to close at 6pm.
  • Business centres to remain closed on weekends.
  • Parks, shrines and wedding halls to remain closed
  • No sporting activities or festivals will be held.
  • Medical and grocery stores to stay open 24/7.
  • 50% of people to work from home.

On March 11, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom is causing a rise in infections in the province.

The UK variant is spreading fast because it’s more infectious, she added. The influx of people travelling back from the UK has resulted in a rise in infections in Lahore, Jhelum, Okara and Gujarat.

Related: Six Punjab districts placed under smart lockdown

Around 70% of the COVID-19 cases being reported in these cities are of the new variant, Dr Rashid said.

Schools closed for two weeks

On March 10, the federal government announced that schools across Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujrat, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar and Islamabad will remain closed from March 15 to March 28.

The decision has been taken because of the rising coronavirus cases in these cities, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced while addressing briefing the media about the decisions taken by the National Command and Operation Centre.

Mahmood clarified that the decision will be applicable to all educational institutions, whether its schools, universities or colleges. These restrictions will, however, not be applicable to exams. A-Level, matric and intermediate examinations will be held as per schedule.

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