Punjab mulls lockdown as Virus seen on surge

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet is mulling another lockdown in light of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) report regarding “a slight increase in the positivity ratio and the number of cases across Pakistan”.
The NCOC shared its review after a meeting with health experts, and its findings pushed the Punjab cabinet to hold its own meeting, chaired by Punjab law minister Raja Basharat, to discuss the threat of the virus and the rising death rate.
The cabinet discussed how Sindh has been hit by a fresh wave of cases in spite of marked improvements. While the NCOC commented that “the overall situation remains stable”, the committee felt that that safety protocols need to be tightened in Punjab, as citizens are disregarding standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The NCOC reported noted that there has been a marked decline in following health guidelines on wearing of masks, social distancing and ‘no mask no service’ protocols. Furthermore, high-risk activities such as large public gatherings like restaurants and marriage halls were identified.
At the occasion, Raja Basharat said, “We are close to defeating coronavirus, however, people should exhibit responsibility and take the virus situation seriously.”
Earlier, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar emphasised that public safety is of the utmost importance and the success of national anti-virus efforts so far should not be allowed to go waste.
Similarly, the NCOC statement noted that “shaking hands has become a routine in total disregard to public safety and health”.
The NCOC will review the present situation in detail to formulate a plan against any possible resurgence of Covid-19. Similarly, the Punjab Health Department will formulate new safety protocols and a public awareness campaign as per the orders of the cabinet meeting.
Health experts also briefed the NCOC on the pattern and prevalence of a possible second wave in the world, and particularly in Pakistan.
Punjab has 100,272 confirmed coronavirus cases with 2,247 fatalities; of 124 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours.
The total active cases of coronavirus in Pakistan on Thursday were recorded at 8,015 as 583 more people tested positive for the deadly virus over the last 24 hours.
Agencies add: Punjab on Thursday reported 124 new cases of COVID-19 with two deaths by the disease in last 24 hours.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in a statement today said that the province have 1521 active cases of coronavirus. He said Punjab have overall 10,02,72 cases of novel coronavirus, while 96,506 patients have recovered to health.
“In last 24 hours two patients died by COVID-19, while total count of deaths by the disease in Punjab has been 2,247,” the chief minister said. The health authorities in Punjab have conducted 10,712 tests in the period and detected 124 positive cases of novel coronavirus, he said.
Overall 13,29,042 coronavirus diagnosis tests have been conducted in the province, so far, Chief Minister Buzdar said.
Pakistan reported nine more coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll from the disease to 6,544.
As many as 31,168 samples were tested during this period, out of which 583 turned out to be positive, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The number of Covid-19 cases across the country has reached 316,934 with the addition of the new cases. There are 8,015 active Covid-19 cases as 302,000 patients have recuperated from the infection.
More than 3.7 million tests have been conducted in the country. As many as 497 of the patients under treatment at various hospitals across the country are said to be in critical condition.
So far, Sindh has reported 139,195 cases of novel coronavirus, Punjab 100,272, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 38,175, Balochistan 15,460, Islamabad 17,009, Gilgit Baltistan 3,886, and Azad Jammu and Kahsmir 2,937.