Monday Mar 23, 2020
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Monday announced a province-wide closure of non-essential services and shops, effective March 24, after the country's coronavirus infected tally crossed 800.
“During this time shopping malls, public transport, public places and tourist spots will remain closed. In the larger interest of the public, we have also banned pillion riding, although families will be exempted.”
The chief minister said that factories producing necessary products will not be subject to the lockdown's conditions.
The chief minister said that grocery stores, fruit markets, bakeries and meat shops will not be subject to the lockdown's conditions. However, he clarified that the province was not undergoing a lockdown neither a curfew.
"I want to make it clear to you that this is neither a curfew nor a lockdown situation," he said. "We are bringing a little changing [in the situation]," he added.
The chief minister announced that all non-essential shops and services will be closed as the Punjab government takes precautionary measures to ensure the virus does not spread.
"The way forward for the next 14 days," the Punjab health department tweeted, reiterating Buzdar's message.
Shortly after the announcement, a meeting chaired by Buzdar and Corps Commander Lahore reviewed the measures taken to prevent the COVID-19 from spreading in Punjab. Arrangements for the medical treatment of patients were also analysed.
Participants of the meeting agreed that all resources should be used to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. It was also decided that collaborative measures would be taken in line with 100% implementation of the government's steps.
"We will ensure full cooperation with the government of Punjab in tackling corona [virus]," Corps Commander Lahore said.
The government of Punjab, Buzdar added, has sought the military's help under Article 245. "The Pakistan Army has always stood strong with the nation during challenging times," he said.
"The military and political leadership shall deal with the coronavirus challenge in the best possible manner," he added.
Pakistan on Monday reported its sixth death from the coronavirus as the total tally of infected persons rose to 803 across the country.
Balochistan reported the first death from the province. Balochistan government's spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the province's first death from the virus on Sunday in a tweet.
The deceased was a 65-year-old man, under treatment at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, according to Shahwani.
Earlier, a doctor from Gilgit-Baltistan was reported as the country’s fifth death.
The doctor who screened suspected pilgrims returning to Pakistan from Iran tested positive on Friday, Dr Shah Zaman, a senior member of the Health Department and focal person of GB government for coronavirus, told The News.
According to Zaman, who met the physician on Thursday evening, the doctor looked fine and did not complain of anything. However, when his wife tried to wake him the next day, he did not respond.