A summary forwarded to Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar by Primary & Secondary Health Secretary Captain (r) Usman last month estimated that there could be 670,000 cases of the new coronavirus — COVID-19 — in Lahore alone.
The summary was forwarded to Buzdar on May 15, Geo quoted the secretary as saying, and reported that it contained results of samples collected from hotspots, residences and offices in Lahore.
As per the summary, 6 per cent of the total samples collected, tested positive for COVID-19. In some towns, the percentage of positive cases went up to 14.7 per cent. The report said that there wasn’t a single area in Lahore where the infection had not reached.
Members of the Technical Working Group — formed to ascertain the number of coronavirus affected persons in the city — have recommended imposing a complete lockdown for four weeks and quarantining persons aged above 50 years. The group has also advised the government to declare it essential for people to stay inside their homes.
Lockdown restrictions have, however, only been eased since before Eidul Fitr last month.
Amid soaring cases, the Punjab government has decided to further ease lockdown restrictions that were imposed to contain the outbreak. Buzdar last week chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Anti-Coronavirus Measures, wherein it was agreed that recommendations for the opening of the different departments and institutions, according to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) defined by the government, would be forwarded to the federal government.
In the meeting, Buzdar said that a request would be made to the federal government to provide 1,500 ventilators. He added the instructions of the federal government regarding opening of restaurants, cafes etc, would be followed by the provincial government.
The Cabinet Committee allowed the Punjab Public Service Commission to conduct interviews of one thousand lady doctors. It was also decided in the meeting that the Drug Regulatory Authority Of Pakistan (DRAP) would be approached for permission to prepare ventilators and respirators at the local level.
It was decided the National Command and Operation Centre ( NCOC ) would take final decision to reopen the parks’ proposal, new working hours for the commercial enterprises and two-day holidays.