After the rapid increase of coronavirus cases in Lahore, the Punjab government is considering to re-impose a two-week lockdown in Lahore from Monday, GVS learned through reliable sources on Friday. In this context, the final approval would be given by Prime Minister Imran Khan after consultation with the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). This report explains as to why is the Punjab government going to re-impose a two-week lockdown in Lahore?
Punjab govt to implement strict lockdown in Lahore for two weeks starting Monday. Awaiting approval from PM Imran Khan.
— Wajahat Kazmi (@KazmiWajahat) June 12, 2020
Medicines, grocery and other shops of important commodities would remain open during the two-week lockdown. Sources further added that the provincial government has also decided to ensure strict implementation of the SOPs.
It is worth mentioning here that, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday had said that the time has arrived to strictly implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 and announced to personally monitor the effectuation of the government orders.
PM Imran Khan, while addressing a press conference over the pandemic situation, had said that the death rate was increasing due to COVID-19 as the country is expected to witness its peak in July.
The premier had said that the federal authorities were fully aware of the rise in coronavirus cases after lifting strict lockdown measures.
Why is the Punjab government going to re-impose a two-week lockdown in Lahore?
Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza has urged people not to let their guard down against coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Pakistan could increase in the coming days.
Giving media briefing in Islamabad, he said the situation regarding availability of ventilators and beds across the country is under control.
The Special Assistant said 18 to 20 percent out of the total number of ventilators are in use at the moment. He said National Command and Operation Centre is closely watching the situation and will adopt strategy accordingly in consultation with various stakeholders.
Dr. Zafar Mirza said people could not grasp the situation regarding lockdown. He said a new instruction guide has been issued for the people who die of corona.
Notably, in a letter to the provincial government, the WHO strongly recommended that the government should adopt the “two weeks off and two weeks on” strategy as it offers the smallest curve. It also recommended strengthening of all public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, physical distancing and contact tracing.
The federal government recently told the Supreme Court (SC) that citizens were not taking the Covid-19 threat seriously after the apex court’s remarks the other day, making it difficult for the administration to take measures to curb the viral outbreak.
Premature easing of lockdown restrictions and its consequences
Experts in Pakistan have warned against the premature easing of lockdown restrictions, fearing an exponential rise in infections. One healthcare worker said: “Everyone’s scared and exhausted. But we are fighting, we are pushing the limits. All we ask is that the government and people understand that they can help us help them by staying at home and providing us quality protective gear.”
Pakistanis are largely violating the SOPs issued by the government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Ahmed Usman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, believes that: “Pakistani society is generally considered as a traditional society whose fabric is woven with the threads of norms, values, and cultures that are mostly shaped up by the complex theological underpinnings. Societal norms encourage social gatherings and overwhelming ways to express care, grief, and sorrow. The patterns of greetings are further formed as per religious frameworks that yet again emphasizes on kindness, generosity, and warmth ensured through reducing the physical gap between people. Religious rituals including Ibadaat at Mosques and religious congregations are considered compulsory in Islam. With this kind of widespread belief system, people believe that while they are in a state of ablution, no disease can harm them.”
why is the Punjab government going to re-impose a two-week lockdown in Lahore? Dr. Usman notes that “arguably, the belief system encourages them to violate the man-made rules of lockdown that they think are baseless and a conspiracy of enemies to weaken the connection between God and them. As lockdown restricts people from going to mosques and attending congregational prayers, it is considered an enemy’s tool to disconnect true Muslims from thy Lord.”