Punjab govt decides to lock down more areas in Lahore
June 25 2020 02:10 AM
Plain cloth policemen seal a street at Aabpara commercial and residential area in Islamabad yesterday as Covid-19 coronavirus cases continue to rise.


The Punjab government yesterday announced it is sealing off seven more areas in Lahore to stem the spread of the Covid-19, as cases of the virus continue to surge across Pakistan.
The areas which will be sealed off from midnight include Gulshan-e-Ravi, Faisal Town, Gulberg, Model Town, DHA, and Garden Town. These areas will be closed completely from 
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said that the main reason to seal the aforementioned areas is to halt the surging number of coronavirus cases in the province since the standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being violated in these respective areas.
“Hopefully, if SOPs are implemented in a week, there will be a clear reduction in coronavirus cases,” she said, adding that the government is trying its level best to ensure economic activities took place and at the same time, ensure all possible measures were being taken to for the safety of citizens.
Deploring that the most number of SOP violations are reported from marketplaces and business centres, Rashid urged masses to abide by safety measures while wearing masks, especially outdoors and at public spaces.
“We are fulfilling our responsibility but the people are also responsible in combating the contagious disease [by following the issued directives],” the 
minister stressed.
Speaking about the health facilities, provision of medical equipment and hospital capacity in the medical centres of the province, Rashid noted that during the last 10 days, there the number of High Dependency Units (HDU) and ventilators have increased in Punjab. She said that about 30 to 50% of the beds in hospitals were empty.
“We have 250 High Dependency Units [HDU] and 60 ventilators empty,” she added.
Maintaining that the government is conducting free coronavirus tests, the minister stated that about 11,000 tests are being conducted on a daily basis across the province.
“We have tried to improve the current circumstances [and] the situation is under control,” Rashid added. 
The government has also announced a relaxation in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the funerals of coronavirus patients, making it easier for relatives of the deceased to take part in the burial process.
A meeting of the Anti-Coronavirus Cabinet Committee was held presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar in which approval was given to review the SOPs for the burial of coronavirus patients.
It was decided to allow heirs to attend the funerals and perform the burial of the Covid-19 patients. The SOPs have been relaxed to the extent that relatives of the deceased can now see his/her face but not come near it or touch it.
Relatives have been allowed to wrap the body up in plastic for the funeral process and a coffin to place the body in is no longer necessary, as per the new SOPs.
Last month, the ministry of health had issued a revised document to ensure precautionary measures are followed while handling the bodies of suspected or confirmed cases of 
The federal government’s document aimed to “provide management guidelines to the families, healthcare providers, managers of health facilities and mortuaries, religious and public health authorities, and to all those who attend to the dead bodies of individuals suspected or confirmed for Covid-19”.
The directives covered the entire process – from the beginning when a body is prepared to be transferred from hospitals and medical centres for the autopsy process [which according to the document should be conducted under engineered and controlled environment] to the burial and funeral rituals.
Burial, the document added, should be managed by the authorities on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of the family, the risks of exposure to infection and the need of investigation the death cause.
Additionally, the chief minister has also ordered to continue crackdown on those who stockpile Actemra injections and other essential drugs during the 
coronavirus crisis.
The minister further said that cattle markets would not be set up in the city limits on the account of Eid al-Adha and a final plan should be presented to seal some areas of Lahore to stem the disease from spreading. 
“The capacity of coronavirus tests in Punjab has increased to 12,000 on a daily basis though the number of confirmed patients has declined in three days,” he added.

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