–Tableeghi Jamaat ignores govt ban, continues to host religious gathering in Raiwind
–LUMS, private schools violate directives, remain open for faculty and non-faculty
LAHORE: Amid a hike in coronavirus cases, the Punjab government on Tuesday scrambled to find ways to contain the deadly disease as chaos and panic marred the daily routine amid a violation of a ban on public gathering.
The government had imposed Section 144 to discourage public gathering in the wake of cases in Lahore and DG Khan; however, it was having a difficult time implementing the ban, as a religious gathering in Raiwind continues to flout the prohibition.
There are at least 10,000 people residing at the Tableegi Markaz in Raiwind, with another mosque, Masjid Ibrahim, ramping up preparation to hold a big gathering to mark Shab-e-Juma. These centres are sending off at least a dozen parties to 150-200 mosques in the city for preaching purposes, whereas almost 1000 parties [jamaats] are going across Pakistan for the same purposes.
The activities of these parties are a recipe for disaster, as they can lead to a countrywide spread of the virus.
Raiwind Assistant Commissioner Adnan Rasheed said the ijtima [gathering] won’t lead to an increase in the coronavirus cases. He said the authorities washed and chlorinated the area where the gathering was being held.
Deputy Commissioner Afzal Danish said the Raiwind gathering was in violation of the law and such transgression would be dealt with.
“All gatherings have been banned so far. There is no decision on Friday prayers as of yet because we need the sanction of religious authorities,” he said, adding any other activity inside or outside mosques will be a violation. He said the shelter homes have been told to serve food to a two-three people group at a time in addition to bedding made at a distance of three feet.
However, the shelter homes operating in Lahore were not observing measures imposed to discourage social interaction, as almost 4,484 people were living together and hundreds gather there to eat daily.
Separately, the schools and universities are also flouting the ban. The Lahore University of Management Sciences and various private schools remained open for faculty in complete disregard of the measures taken by the government.
The Punjab government is also grappling with the shortage of hand sanitisers and face masks being sold at increased rates. “Most of the stores do not have face masks and hand sanitisers, and if they have they are selling these items at 300 per cent surge rate,” said a report submitted to the Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Meanwhile, the young doctors have also gone on a strike over the shorage of safety kits.
Young Doctors Association (YDA) representative Dr Salman Haseeb said, “The government should provide safety kits to the doctors who are treating the corona patients,” and added only the most serious patients should come to the hospitals.
Governor Chaudhry Sarwar took the notice of strike and ordered the vice chancellor of the University of Health Sciences to provide safety kits to the doctors within 24 hours.
In addition to this, the government is going to purchase 200 ventilators and expand isolation wards in Mayo and Services Hospitals. The Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center has been dedicated to the coronavirus treatment while a separate block on 70 beds is being established.
Punjab Government would also purchase 300 screening kits. Further, the government will also provide coronavirus kits at subsidised rates to private hospitals and private laboratories.
A hostel of the University of Engineering Technology has been converted into a 400-bed hospital for the coronavirus patients. Also, the campuses of UET and GCU in Kala Shah Kaku have also been selected for the suspected patients.