Punjab tightens Covid restrictions as third wave spirals out of control

Health department bans outdoor dining, cinemas, theatres and amusement parks, and reduces office timings


Imran Asghar April 25, 2021
Lahore under lockdown amongst record breaking Covid-19 cases reported. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI:

The Punjab government has notified extension in restrictions till May 17 to contain the spread of Covid-19, as the third wave, fuelled by the UK variant, continued to spiral out of control in the province.

As per the notification issued by the Primary and Secondary Health Care Department on Saturday, the restrictions have been tightened in 19 districts of the province including Lahore and Rawalpindi amid the upsurge in coronavirus cases.

All kinds of gatherings (indoor and outdoor) will remain banned, including social, cultural, political, sports and miscellaneous events.

“There shall be a complete ban on indoor and outdoor dining and only takeaway/home delivery shall be allowed,” read the communiqué.

The notification states that the business activities will be allowed till 6pm on weekdays and will remain completely shut two days a week.

Also read: Sindh govt extends Covid restrictions till May 16

The cinemas, theatres and amusement parks will remain completely closed in the province. Whereas, shrines will remain shut in the districts with above 8% positivity ratio.

Interprovincial public transport will also remain closed on Saturday and Sunday.

However, essential services like pharmacies and grocery stores among others are exempted from such restrictions.

The health department said the coronavirus positivity ratio has exceeded eight per cent in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujranwala, Bahawalnagar and other districts of the province.

All public and private offices across the province are allowed to operate from 9am till 2pm with 50% attendance. Besides, other restrictions including mandatory face mask wearing in public spaces will remain in place, as per the official handout.

Punjab on Saturday reported at least 3,073 new coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 285,542.

According to the health department, at least 98 more patients succumbed to the pandemic in the province as the total reached 7,897.

Also read: Punjab closes colleges in 25 districts to stem coronavirus upswing

Earlier in the day, the provincial government also ordered the closure of colleges in 25 districts of the province.

According to a notification, colleges in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Toba Tek Singh, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Sialkot, Sargodha, Multan, Okara, Jhang, Khanewal, Kasur, Bahawalnagar, Chakwal, Bhakkar, Faizabad, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Khushab, Lodhran, Mandi Bahauddin, Pakpattan will remain closed.

It said that colleges have been closed in districts where the coronavirus positivity ratio is over five per cent.

Universities in these districts will continue their educational activities as per the SOPs issued by the Higher Education Commission, the notification further read.

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