Tuesday Aug 03 2021
Web Desk

Punjab govt imposes lockdown in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad

Web Desk
Man standing on an empty street vegetable pull cart. Photo: File
Man standing on an empty street vegetable pull cart. Photo: File

  • All business, commercial activities to remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 
  • Indoor dining banned, outdoor dining allowed till 10:00pm. 
  • Office attendance reduced to 50%, gyms to remain open only for vaccinated persons; cinemas, shrines to be completely closed. 

LAHORE: The Punjab government has imposed a lockdown in Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad as cases of the coronavirus continue to increase across the country.

As per the notification, the lockdown has been imposed from Tuesday, August 3 and will remain in effect till August 31. The decision to reimpose restrictions was taken by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) after reviewing the worsening situation of the pandemic in the country. 

As per the Punjab government's notification, market/business activities will be allowed to operate till 08:00 pm.

The provincial government has allowed to grant exemption to the following:

  • Pharmacies/Medical stores, medical facilities and vaccination centers, petrol pumps, tandoors, bakeries, milk/dairy shops, food (24 hours a day)
  • Takeaways and e-commerce/Courier/Postal services and utility services (Electricity, Natural Gas, Internet, Cellular Networks/Telecom, Call Centers, Media). Auto workshops, Oil Depots and all Kinds of Mandis including grain, fruit, cattle and vegetable mandis. 

Closed days: All business and commercial activities will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays, as these will be observed as "closed days". However, exemptions for the closed days are:

Pharmacies/Medical stores, Medical Facilities and Vaccination Centers, Petrol Pumps. Tandoors, Bakeries, Grocery / Karyana stores, Milk / Dairy Shops, Sweet Shops. Vegetable / Fruit Shops, Chicken / Meot Shops, Food (24 hours a i. Takeaways and E-commerce / Courier / Postal day) Services & Utility Services (Electricity, Natural Gas, Internet, Cellular Networks / Telecom, Coll Centers. Media). Auto workshops. Oil Depots and all kinds of mandis including grain, fruit, cattle and vegetable mandis

The Punjab government has banned indoor dining in its order, however, outdoor dining has been allowed till 10pm. The provincial government has allowed restaurants to provide customers with the takeaway service 24 hours a day 

Weddings/Functions: Indoor weddings shall be banned w.e.f. August 8, 2021. Outdoor weddings shall be allowed with maximum 400 guests under strict COVID protocols. 

Timings for outdoor weddings shall be till 10:00pm. 

Shrines: The Punjab government has ordered complete closure of shrines in the cities. 

Cinemas: There shall be complete closure of cinemas. 

Gatherings: A ban has been imposed on all types of indoor gatherings including cultural, musical/religious/miscellaneous events. However, outdoor gatherings shall be allowed for a maximum 400 individuals under strict COVID protocols. 

Sports: There shall be complete ban on contact sports, which include (Karate, Boxing, Martial Arts, Rugby, Water Polo, Kabaddi & Wrestling). 

Gyms: All gyms shall remain open only for vaccinated individuals/members.

Office Routine: Normal office working hours for public/private offices shall continue. However, attendance level is reduced from 100% to 50%.

Public Transport: Maximum occupancy level of public transport has been reduced from 70% to 50%. Ban has now been imposed on all types of snacks being served to passengers during the journey by the transport services. 

Railways: Rail services shall continue to operate with 70% occupancy under strict COVID protocols. 

Recreation: All amusement parks, water sports and swimming pools shall remain closed. However, public parks shall remain open under strict COVID protocols. 

Extended Lockdown: Broader lockdowns with stringent enforcement protocols based on risk assessment shall continue. 

Wearing of masks: All citizens shall compulsorily wear masks in public spaces. 

Tourism: Policy of controlled tourism for vaccinated individuals shall continue.

The Punjab government, in its notification, clarified that industrial and agricultural activities and establishments will remain exempt from the lockdown. 

New restrictions to be imposed in major cities

The notification was issued after Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Monday announced some new restrictions in major cities of Pakistan in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Holding a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, the minister had said that all the decisions were taken after the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The minister had said that the new coronavirus restrictions will come into effect from Aug 3 and will remain in place until Aug 31.

In Punjab, restrictions will be imposed in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar and Abbottabad will undergo the new restrictions, Umar had announced. 

PM Imran Khan chairs meeting

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a meeting on coronavirus as the pandemic spirals out of control with over 8% positivity ratio being reported in the last three days.

The COVID-19 situation has worsened further in the country after Eid despite multiple warnings from the health authorities for the implementation of government-mandated safety protocols.

The meeting discussed the surge in coronavirus positive cases and deliberated upon measures to contain the spread of the Delta variant of virus in the country.

The PM was briefed about the lockdown in Sindh imposed since July 31 (Saturday) after a sharp spike in infections. The federal ministers have strongly objected to the restrictions in the province, saying it will hurt the economic progress that has been achieved so far.