LAHORE: A total of 491 “micro smart lockdowns” have been imposed in the Punjab province, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the country.
In Pakistan, the COVID-19 caseload now stands at 330,905, while 6,773 people have died to date.
Punjab, which has the recorded the second-highest tally of infections after Sindh in the country, has imposed 491 “micro smart lockdowns” across the province, according to official documents of which the majority, 435, is in Lahore alone.
In Gujrat, there are 29 “micro smart lockdowns”, three in Hafizabad, two in Jhang, eight in Jhelum, three in Kasur, six in Khanewal, and five in Khushab.
While there are a total of 671 infected people in the lockdown areas.
With an uptick in those sickened by the deadly virus, the province has also ordered businesses and commercial activities to shut down at 10pm in Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi. However, medical stores, pharmacies, tandoors, printing press, call centers, and takeaway from restaurants have been exempted from the new timings.
Separately, public parks will close at 6pm.
In response, the Lahore Restaurants Unity Association has reacted strongly to the provincial government forcing shut restaurants at 10pm.
In a statement issued by its president, Aamer Rafique Qureshi, the association said that most restaurants make money at night. “By reducing operating time for restaurants would increase rush,” he said, “This can lead to a further increase in COVID-19 cases.” He added that due to the outbreak 40% of the restaurants had already closed permanently in Lahore.