Punjab announces new restrictions following coronavirus surge
The cabinet committee on coronavirus in Punjab has banned outdoor dining and public transport in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, and a number of other cities.
The decision was taken after the following cities reported a coronavirus positivity rate of more than 8%:
Weddings ceremonies, both outdoor and indoor, and public gatherings have been banned in these areas. Parks and recreational spots have been closed as well.
A restriction has been placed on Orange and Greenline Metro buses and trains. Shopping malls and markets in these areas will be allowed to open till 6pm.
According to Punjab government spokesperson Mussarat Cheema, only delivery and takeaway will be allowed at restaurants. “Lahore has the highest infection rate across Pakistan,” she told SAMAA TV.
“The third wave of coronavirus is lethal. Its infection rate and the death rate is more than both the waves.” She added that hospitals in the province are reaching their full capacity.
The health department has suggested a complete lockdown for seven days in these areas. A decision regarding this has, however, yet to be taken.
The chief secretary of Punjab has instructed all commissioners, especially in Lahore, to ensure coronavirus SOPs are followed. He warned that an FIR will be registered against authorities if they fail to implement the orders.
In a media briefing on Sunday, Special Assistant to Punjab CM Firdous Ashiq Awan said that anyone seen not wearing a mask in public will be fined and sent to jail for up to six months.
In the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported over 4,500 cases while 41 people succumbed to the deadly virus. Experts have called the increase in coronavirus metrics alarming.