LAHORE: In spite of attempts to curb the second wave of Covid-19, the district administration and related departments have failed to ensure compliance of smart lockdowns imposed in the different parts of the provincial capital.
According to information available with Pakistan Today, 11 areas of the city were identified by the Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Care Department on November 9 as hotspot areas for coronavirus.
The affected areas include New Muslim Town (C Block), Allama Iqbal Town (Raza Block, Sikandar Block, Umar Block), Garden Town, Cavalry Ground, DHA Phase I (AA Block), HBFC ( B Block), DHA Phase VI (A Sector & L Sector), Askari XI, Anarkali, Mozang, Shadman and Gulshan Ravi.
During a survey, it was found that not only were people moving to the sealed places in these areas but that business centres were also still open.
Nasir Mahmood, a resident of Gulshan-e-Ravi, said that a few streets in his area were sealed off, but people were still coming to the bazaars and even going to their offices regularly.
“The government-imposed lockdown is only in the news. In practice, the lockdown is nowhere to be seen and people are not following any SOPs [standard operating procedures]. People go to restaurants without masks. There is no social distance in the markets, functions are still going on in the wedding halls. Lockdown is nowhere to be seen.”
Similarly, residents of other areas of the city also complained that the movement of people in the sealed areas has not decreased and the actions of the administration are not visible.
A senior district administration official explained that they [district administration] had been ordered to seal the areas with the highest number of cases of coronavirus and impose smart lockdown there, but this was not possible at this stage.
“We were getting results from private laboratories and smart sampling, which made it easier to estimate which areas of the city had the highest number of infected people. We were asked to seal various areas of the city, he said, adding that smart lockdown was implemented only in the streets where coronavirus cases were present.
“Sealing the whole area meant putting people who are healthy in trouble,” he added.
The official further said that since this was not a micro-smart lockdown but a smart lockdown, district administration and the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department checked each street.
“If there were seven, eight or 10 cases in one street, we just sealed that street. Now the thing to consider is that if there are six people living in a house and they are all infected, then the street was sealed only because of that one house.”
He said that in this scenario, only the people of the house would have restricted movement, while the other people on the same street who were not infected were treated leniently.
Furthermore, he informed that “Police and health department personnel are now stationed and working outside the affected streets. We have closed these streets with barriers on one side and tents on the other.”
The official also said that they were also facing severe difficulties in the process of checking the streets because the citizens do not cooperate and that many residents were often reluctant to get testing, making it harder to see the complete picture.
“On several occasions, people even got into fights with the district administration staff. People in the posh areas take their own tests out of self-responsibility, but many are reluctant to take the test just to avoid being imprisoned and that’s one of the reasons the Covid-19 case is on the rise,” he justified.
When the official was asked why large grocery stores or other business centres in the affected areas remain open till late at night, he replied that business activities in the affected areas have fixed working hours and they are closed on time.
“All medical laboratories, pharmacies and hospitals in the affected areas are ordered to be open 24 hours a day, while grocery stores, grocery stores and petrol pumps are open from 9 am to 7 pm,” he maintained.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Lahore Deputy Commissioner Mudassar Riaz Malik said, “The lockdown is not in the whole area but in the streets. Our plan is to target only those areas where there are more patients.”
He added that in 15 days, they had sealed more than 500 shops and other business centres.