LAHORE: To bend the knee under the pressure of the business community and ‘keep the economy going’, the Punjab government has allowed the opening of all markets, markets, shopping centers and other businesses five days a week with longer working hours.
The decision was taken even though the Punjab primary and secondary health department’s “smart sampling” data analysis report, which showed a large spread of the corona virus in Lahore, downplayed the numbers available from infected patients.
However, the government has decided not to open new avenues for interaction outside public spaces in spaces such as restaurants and parks, especially because people do not take the coronavirus threat seriously during the Eid holiday, doubling the number of virus positive patients in the province. .
The provincial capital has emerged as the Covid-19 patient center, followed by Gujranwala and Faisalabad.
Park, restaurants to stay close
“The Punjab government is currently not heading for another lockdown, but will review the situation on the ground after seven days,” a secret official for development told Dawn on Monday.
Although the administration of the Capital City Region of Islamabad has decided to impose a fine of Rs 3,000 on those who do not wear masks outdoors, Punjab has just launched a massive awareness campaign to educate the public about the security measures.
“At a later stage, the Punjab government might also impose fines,” the official said.
The provincial government, said a source, has been negotiating to close down some sectors that were previously allowed to open but they are contributing heavily in increasing the number of corona virus patients.
The government has instructed all merchants and shop owners to ensure that customers must wear masks and clean their hands. The government expects the same from the carriers.
“Finally, traders will suffer losses if the business is closed because it does not pay attention to SOPs set in the market, market and public transportation,” said an official.
The government has also ordered traffic officers to inspect the commuter and ask the offender to wear a sign.
“The government wants people at the individual level to be aware of the gravity of the situation and to stay at home or if going out will take all precautions,” an official, who attended Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s video-link meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, said.
“The message – ‘stay at home, stay safe’ and regarding taking precautions has reached each and every person, thanks to the media, so hopefully the government should not be forced to go to impose fines,” the official said and added that people people have to change their way of life.
It was learned that the federal government rejected the Punjab proposal to open a restaurant. The proposal to open around 4,500 registered restaurants, apart from the unregistered ones, including ‘dhabas’ in Lahore, was discussed by the Punjab government, but was opposed on the grounds that it was impossible to monitor enforcement of SOPs. in a place like that.
Likewise, the Punjab government also recommended opening a park to allow people to go out and relax to deal with the increased mental stress, but the proposal was also rejected.
Because the Punjab government faced protests from people related to the tourism industry in various tourist resorts, the government recommended opening tourism, especially in Murree and Galliaat on the grounds that the industry has a small three-four-month window for business during the summer.
A Punjab government official said a meeting of the National Command and Control Center (NCOC) had asked Punjab chief ministers, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan to negotiate and make recommendations and SOPs to open the tourism industry during the summer – within the next four days.
“The Punjab government hopes that permission will be given,” the official said.
After analyzing intelligent sampling data in Lahore, the Punjab government and local government focused more on the provincial capital to control the spread of infection.
After Lahore, the main focal points are Gujranwala and Faisalabad.
Published in Dawn, 2 June 2020
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