Punjab government has finally once again sealed worst-hit areas of Lahore for at least two weeks despite which the number of coronavirus infections in Punjab rose to 71,987 on Friday.
The development came days after Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid slammed the people of Lahore for not taking precautionary measures against COVID-19 and held them responsible for the surge in the number of infections in the country’s most populous province.
“Lahoris are weird creatures. For them, everything is a joke. They are so ignorant… they do not listen and don’t care. No other nation is more ignorant and stupid than Pakistanis,” she had said.
Seven COVID-19-affected areas have been sealed in Lahore over the past week. These include Gulberg, Model Town, Faisal Town, Garden Town, Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Gulshane Ravi and the Walled City.
A complete ban has been imposed on transportation and businesses in the sealed areas where 3,606 cases have so far been reported. The actual number of cases is likely to be way more than official figures that are as follows:
|DHA||Gulberg||Model Town||Faisal Town||Garden Town||Gulshan-e- Ravi||Walled city|
Government guidelines were issued before re-opening business ahead of Eidul Fitr, under which shopkeepers were told not to let people gather at their stores, social distancing was stressed, availability of sanitisers for general public’s use was to be ensured and wearing gloves with masks was made necessary in most spaces.
However, none of the SOPs [standard operating procedures] were followed by most Lahoris, resulting in the provincial capital of Punjab becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 in the province.
At present, there are 71,191 coronavirus cases in Punjab while 35,582 cases (about 49.98 per cent of the total number of infections) are in Lahore alone with the local spread in the city standing at 69.4 per cent.
Despite a lockdown being put in place again, government SOPs are still not being followed by people as many believe that coronavirus “does not even exist”, and throng to markets, destroying social distancing among other guidelines.
A look at stats of police actions against violators of SOPs amid the government’s “smart” lockdown, also proves the same.
According to Lahore police stats from June 16 to June 24, almost 238,400 citizens violating coronavirus guidelines were warned and sent back home. As many as 8,251 motorcycles and vehicles were confiscated while 4,599 citizens submitted surety bonds for not unnecessarily leave their homes again.
During the ongoing lockdown, 8,927 cases have been registered and 1,888 shops have also been sealed for violating SOPs in Lahore.