CM Buzdar takes ‘important decisions’ as coronavirus continues to spread across the country

LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar on Monday announced strict measures to battle the coronavirus which included a ban on pillion riding, a day after the Sindh government imposed a province-wide lockdown.

The chief minister announced that the provincial government had decided to take certain measures that will ensure social distancing and self-quarantine to thwart the emergence of new cases.

“The Government of Punjab has decided to impose a ban on pillion riding. Families will be exempt from this,” he said. The chief minister said that factories producing necessary products will not be subject to the lockdown’s conditions.

The chief minister said that grocery stores, fruit markets, bakeries and meat shops will not be subject to the lockdown’s conditions. However, he clarified that the province was not undergoing a lockdown neither a curfew.

“I want to make it clear to you that this is neither a curfew nor a lockdown situation,” he said. “We are bringing a little changing [in the situation],” he added.

The chief minister announced that all non-essential shops and services will be closed as the Punjab government takes precautionary measures to ensure the virus does not spread.

Public transport across the province will remain suspended and only a limited amount of people will be allowed to travel in cars. The government will ensure uninterrupted supply chain of food items and pharma industry.

The number of coronavirus patients in Punjab rose to  246, according to a government representative.

“There are 246 patients in Punjab that includes 177 patients in DG Khan and 52 patients in Lahore. We are trying our best to contain the spread of the virus. Please stay indoors and ensure safety of our loved ones,” tweeted  CM Buzdar’s spokesperson Musarrat  Cheema.

Pakistan on Monday reported its sixth death from the coronavirus as the total tally of infected persons rose to 803 across the country.

Balochistan reported the first death from the province. Balochistan government’s spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the province’s first death from the virus on Sunday in a tweet.

The deceased was a 65-year-old man, under treatment at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, according to Shahwani.

Earlier, a doctor from Gilgit Baltistan was reported as the country’s fifth death.

The doctor who screened suspected pilgrims returning to Pakistan from Iran tested positive on Friday, Dr Shah Zaman, a senior member of the Health Department and focal person of GB government for coronavirus, told The News.

According to Zaman who met the physician on Thursday evening, the doctor looked fine and did not complain of anything. However, when his wife tried to wake him the next day, he did not respond.