LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday set up a dedicated team to develop a policy to effectively curb the coronavirus spread in the provincial capital.
Led by the Punjab Home Department’s Additional Chief Secretary Momin Agha, the team was tasked to come up with recommendations for a separate and effective management policy for Lahore as the cases of the novel coronavirus in the city continue to rise significantly.
The province has so far recorded 10,033 patients of the COVID-19 infection.
The decision was made during a meeting — presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to analyse measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and determine reasons for the surge in positive cases in Lahore.
The meeting was attended by Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shoaib Dastgir, Lahore Corps Commander Lieutenant General Majid Ehsan, 10-Division General Officer Commanding Major General Muhammad Aneequr Rehman Malik and Punjab Rangers Director General Major General Muhammad Aamir Majeed.
Participants of the meeting pondered upon the strategy to ease the coronavirus lockdown in stages and reviewed progress of the wheat procurement drive, as well as the facilities provided to farmers in the province.
They expressed concern over the increasing number of positive cases in Lahore. Punjab’s political and military leadership also decided to use all necessary resources to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It was decided during the meeting that no violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued for businesses would be tolerated and action would be taken against said business or its industry for failing to adhere to the instructions.
The meeting paid tribute to the services of doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff.
Lieutenant General Ehsan reiterated his commitment to continue all possible cooperation with the Punjab government, noting that the leadership “stands with the people in this hour of need”.
He added that it was necessary to implement a separate line of action given the current situation in the provincial capital.
CM Buzdar said that the decision to relax the lockdown in stages was made after consultation with all stakeholders. Permission for small markets and shops would be given after zoning, he added, noting that businesses that were allowed to open would have to ensure implementation of the SOPs.
The chief minister added that Punjab had acquired the capacity to conduct almost 6,000 tests a day and that more than 117,000 tests had been carried out to date.
Moreover, smart sampling was initiated in various cities, including Lahore, and 214 of the 4,100 tests conducted via smart sampling came out positive, he added.