Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday warned of imposing complete lockdown in Punjab if violations of coronavirus standard operating procedure (SOPs) continue amid the third Covid-19 wave.
She was speaking to ARY News, Dr Yasmin Rashid said that recommendations have been finalised for complete lockdown in eight cities of Punjab including Lahore for 15 days. She said the death toll and COVID positivity cases ratio is rapidly increasing in Lahore. For many days COVID positivity cases ratio in Lahore is being reported at over 19 per cent, she added.
According to the recommendations finalised by the health department, all government and private offices will remain close in the areas of lockdown. Shopping malls, restaurants will also remain close.
Hospitals, medical services, stores will remain open 24/7 in the lockdown areas, while people will only be allowed to move in case of desperate need.
While shops of meat, milk, bakeries, petrol pumps, groceries, general stores, atta chakis, fruits and vegetables will remain open from 9 in the morning till 7pm.
Last, week, the Punjab government had issued special SOPs and guidelines for mosques to be implemented during Ramazan.
As per new SOPs, carpet or rugs would not be spread/laid in Mosques or Imambargahs, prayers will be offered on the bare floors.
Does Pakistan afford a complete lockdown?
Analysts believe that Pakistan’s economic condition does not allow the country to prolong a curfew-like lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been of the view that any attempt to restrict daily wagers to their residences might lead to some serious law and order situation.
We should, argued the premier, be careful before we decide to take any stern action to combat Coronavirus outbreak. Some media persons slammed PM Imran for not comprehending the situation and letting the virus spread across the country. However, with the passage of time, the premier was able to offer concrete evidence to support his version of partial lockdown.
Countries should be able to swiftly identify and quarantine coronavirus hotspots instead of putting their whole societies on lockdown, but people must accept this ‘new reality’ for it to work, said WHO’s envoy to Russia. This is the same stance of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who announced to quarantine specific areas rather than locking down entire country. It is worth mentioning that PM Imran Khan was the first leader to suggest this idea in his press briefings since March.
“I do believe that there might be a surge [in Covid-19 cases], but we’ll be able to respond to it much quicker, having all the experience that we’ve got, unfortunately, over the last four months,” Dr. Melita Vujnovic, who represents the World Health Organization in Russia, told RT when asked about the impact of the gradual lifting of lockdowns – that has begun in many countries – on the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases in Pakistan
Pakistan has reported 58 deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 725,602. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 15,501 on Monday.
According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) 4,584 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
Punjab remains the worst-hit province in terms of deaths followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Till now 6,988 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab 4,530 in Sindh, 2,651 in KP, 611 in Islamabad, 403 in Azad Kashmir, 215 in Balochistan, and 103 in GB.
Furthermore 269,126 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 250,459 in Punjab, 99,595 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 66,380 in Islamabad, 20,321 in Balochistan, 14,594 in Azad Kashmir and 5,127 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Pakistan has so far conducted 10,779,474 coronavirus tests and 44,514 in the last 24 hours. 634,835 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country whereas 4,201 patients are in critical condition.