The Punjab government has decided to strictly enforce the lockdown to restrict the movement of people on the occasion of Eidul Fitr and take action against violators as per law as part of its efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting to review the situation of coronavirus in the province, at the Civil Secretariat on Tuesday. Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja, Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, chief secretary, additional chief secretary, additional chief secretary (home), administrative secretaries of the health department, director general of public relations and senior civil and military officials attended the meeting.
The implementation of lockdown, medical facilities, provision of oxygen in hospitals and other measures were reviewed.
Addressing the meeting, Law Minister Basharat Raja said there was a threat of an increase in coronavirus cases due to the high mobility of people on the occasion of Eid. He said the next two weeks were crucial for controlling the epidemic, urging citizens to take precautionary measures during the lockdown and support the government's efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
Dr Rashid said the results of the precautions being practised during the lockdown will begin to emerge after ten days. “If the people follow the SOPs during the lockdown, the cases would come down significantly,” she voiced hope.
She said keeping in view the current pandemic situation, people should celebrate Eid in their homes with simplicity and avoid unnecessary travel. She said at present, sufficient stocks of vaccines available at all vaccination centres in Punjab.
The chief secretary said that due to rush in the markets on the occasion of Eidul Fitr last year, the number of corona cases increased. Keeping in view this experience, the decision to impose lockdown was taken, he maintained.
He said Eid prayers would be held under SOPs. "People should follow government guidelines to protect themselves and their loved ones from the pandemic. Wearing masks, keeping social distance and other precautions can prevent the epidemic," he mentioned.
The meeting was briefed that SOPs have been prepared for gatherings of Eidul Fitr prayers. The meeting was informed that administrative officers are actively working in the field to enforce the lockdown and sealed more than 1,200 shops in different cities, besides taking other actions on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2021.