Sindh govt announces extension in ‘smart’ lockdown till July 15 to restraint mounting coronavirus cases

The government of Sindh on Wednesday announced an extension in the “smart” lockdown imposed across the province, till July 15, following in the footsteps of Punjab and Balochistan amid a rising number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan.

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A notification issued in this regard said the decision was taken “in continuation of the order of even number dated 1 June, 2020 and for the same reasons recorded therein the Government of Sindh, in exercise of powers under Section 3(1) of the Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act, 2014 (The Sindh Act VIII of 2015)”.

The province had announced on June 1 that following a meeting of the National Coordination Committee, it had been decided that economic activities must be opened and a focus on compliance of SOPs must be ensured while such economic activities are undertaken.

In today’s notification, therefore, the selective lockdown has been extended for two more weeks, with the following places to remain closed and activities prohibited:

  1. Educational training institutes
  2. Marriage halls, business centres, expo halls

iii. All contact sports, indoor sports clubs, indoor gyms and sports facilities

  1. Sporting tournaments, indoor and outdoor
  2. Restaurants, cafés excluding takeaway and home delivery
  3. Theme parks, amusement parks and arcades

vii. Beauty parlours and spas

viii. Cinemas and theatres

  1. Public processions/gathering of all nature, shrines
  2. Tourism/tourist hotels
  3. Inter-provincial transport

Intercity transport shall be opened “keeping in view petition by transporters in Honourable High Court of Sindh” but not inter-provincial public transport.

“The provincial government and district administration, by an order, may restrict all/any activity in areas which are the hotspots for the spread of COVID-19,” the notification added.

In this period, operational days/hours for businesses shall be as under:

– Business timings except pharmacies and essential services — Five days per week (Monday-Friday) from Morning to Maghreb (6am to 7pm).

– Restaurants and cafes, etc — All days of the week (closed for customer dine-in and only take away and home delivery allowed) as follows:

  1. i) Take away and home delivery (6am to 7pm)
  2. ii) Home delivery only (7pm to 11pm)

The notification has reminded everyone that “the threat of [COVID-19] spread has not subsided, rather increased and stricter adherence to SOPs is required than ever before”.

In this regard, people are instructed to:

  1. Avoid coming out of houses from 7pm to 6am
  2. Wear a face mask when coming out to any public place

iii. Keep a distance of over 3 feet between persons at all times

  1. Was your hands frequently or use proper hand sanitiser
  2. Strictly adhere to distancing protocols while travelling by any transport
  3. Strictly adhere to SOPs at offices/workplaces

vii. Strictly adhere to all SOPs issued by the provincial and federal governments from time to time

Punjab, Balochistan extend ‘smart’ lockdowns

A day earlier the Punjab government announced an extension in the “smart” lockdown imposed in various coronavirus hotspots across Lahore, till July 15.

Secretary Primary and Secondary Health Care retired Capt Muhammad Usman said the notification will be effective immediately and will be applicable for areas identified in the June 15 order. These include Shahdra, Mazang, Shad Bagh, Harbanspura, Old Lahore, Nishtar Town, Cantt, Allama Iqbal Town and Gulberg.

The following restrictions/exemptions have been notified:

– Educational institutions, wedding halls, restaurants, parks and cinema halls will remain closed

– Gathering for social, religious or sports activities will not be allowed

– All business locations will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm

– Medical stores, tire puncture shops, naan shops, workshops pertaining to the agriculture sector, will be allowed to be remain open 24 hours a day

– Call centres will be allowed to remain open with 50% staff

– Inter-district transport will be allowed 24 hours a day

– Grocery stores will be open all week, from 9am to 7pm

– All churches will be open for worship only on Sundays from 7am to 5pm

It was also reported that the Punjab government has devised a “new strategy” to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A meeting presided by senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan and chief secretary Punjab decided to authorise deputy commissioners to seal or reopen their areas areas depending on the number of cases there.

Meanwhile, in Balochistan, a similar extension till July 15 was announced.

As per an official notification by the provincial home department, shopping malls, markets, shops, warehouses, auto-repair shops and hair salons will be allowed to remain open from 9am to 7pm from Thursdays to Saturdays. All businesses will remain closed on Fridays.

The notification further said that tandoors, shops selling dairy products, blood banks, medical stores and teller shops will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours. Restaurants will be allowed to provide home delivery and take-away services throughout the day as well.

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