Punjab to reopen theaters, restaurants after Eid despite COVID-19 outbreak

Punjab has reportedly decided to reopen theaters and restaurants right after Eid as the lockdown is creating an unmanageable economic crisis. However, the cases of COVID-19 are steadily increasing across the province. Experts warn against lifting the ban from public gatherings.

after eid

Punjab government has decided to reopen theaters and restaurants after Eid-ul-Fitr amid coronavirus outbreak in the country. Sources claim that the decision has been taken in the wake of increasing financial crisis of artists.  The decision, however, seems to be dangerous as the COVID-19 cases across the country are increasing.

According to details, Chief Minister of Punjab (CM) Sardar Usman Buzadar has given principle approval on opening or theaters and restaurants across the province. The CM has sought standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the Information and Culture Department in this regard.

It is to be mentioned here that Pakistan confirmed 50 more deaths from novel coronavirus in one day as the nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 1,067 and positive cases surged to 50,694.

According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 2,603 persons have been tested positive for COVID-19 in 24 hours.

Sindh remains the worst-hit province by the pandemic followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Read More: Why are Pakistanis violating SOPs in the time of COVID-19? A social scientist explains

Till now 18,455 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Punjab, 19,924 in Sindh, 7,155 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3,074 in Balochistan, 13,26 in Islamabad, 602 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 158 in Azad Kashmir.

Patients are under treatment at quarantine centers of 462 hospitals where 7,295 beds are available.

Pakistan has so far conducted 445,987 coronavirus tests and 16,387 in last 24 hours. 14,155 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country whereas many are in critical condition.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday turned down a plea for permission to open parks and other recreational spots across the province on the occasion of Eidul Fitr. An LHC bench headed by Chief Justice Qasim Khan was hearing the constitutional petition seeking directives for the provincial authorities to allow parks and recreational spots to open during the Eid holidays.

The judge also asked if the petitioner wanted the court to issue a license to kill children across the province. “Do you ask me for a license to kill children,” the top high court judge asked the litigant.

Earlier on May 20, the district administration had announced that all the tourist spots and hotels in Murree will remain closed during the Eidul-Fitr holidays.

Read More: COVID-19 offers opportunity to reclaim Quaid’s Pakistan

Similarly, as part of precautionary measures against Covid-19, the Sindh government on Thursday imposed a ban on swimming and bathing in sea and canals on the eve of Eidul-Fitr.

According to a notification issued by the Sindh Home Department, the ban has been imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to contain the spread of the virus.

Interestingly, the apex court not only ordered the reopening of shopping malls but also noted that Pakistan “is not … seriously affected” by Covid-19 and that there is no pandemic in the country. However, Pakistan has had at least 43,966 confirmed cases and more than 900 deaths since March, and the numbers keep rising. At least 500 Pakistani healthcare workers have been infected too, which shows that the country has been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, the federal government on Tuesday 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.

Read More: Ease in lockdown increases coronavirus cases in Punjab

Notably, 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.”

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