The Punjab government made the right decision to impose partial lockdown in the province yesterday to contain the spread of Coronavirus for two weeks. The lockdown will remain imposed from March 24 to April 06. The decision to partially lock down the province was taken after the number of patients reached to 246. There are 177 patients in DG Khan and 52 in Lahore. There are patients of coronavirus in different districts but the number is very low.
The Punjab government’s sudden decision surprised many as Prime Minister Imran Khan categorically refused to lock down the country one day ago. The PM said in his address to the nation that Pakistan cannot afford to impose a total lockdown. 25% of the people in the country live below the poverty line.”
It is not matter what the PM said a day before. The important is that Punjab government made the right and timely decision. Everyone understands that lockdown will affect the economy. The economic activity will slowdown and businesses will have to bear the losses. But it is necessary to save lives.
Whatever you name it-certain measures are necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus once it start to infect people. Social distancing-isolation and self-quarantine helps to contain and control the epidemic. These measures would discourage the people to come out of their homes without solid reason.
The Punjab government has made a sane decision. A government has to make difficult decisions under difficult and challenging situations. It is no use delaying the obvious. Punjab government has taken timely decision. It is never too late. Closing everything but medical stores, hospitals, labs, groceries / milk shop / tandoor is enough. The essential movement i.e. security, medical staff, grocers, food supplies etc should be permitted to move around freely and no one else.
This can be done for a few days and then a day for people to replenish stuff and manage things and then again such closure for another week and so on. All utility bills and bank payments should be extended by 30 days in order to avoid any issues with utilities supply and etc. The role of institutions (private and public) is to facilitate and it’s not business as usual for anyone so why for them.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has tried to dispel the impression that it is not a lockdown or curfew. He said that “I want to make it clear to you that this is neither a curfew nor a lockdown situation.
The only difference between the lockdown announced by Punjab government and Sindh government is that Punjab government hasn’t restricted the movement of people. The Sindh government has imposed severe restrictions on the movement of the people. Apart from this-both governments have taken the similar measures. But Sindh government did it one day before the Punjab government.
The decision to impose partial lockdown to take certain measures that will ensure social distancing and self-quarantine to thwart the emergence of new cases. The CM Punjab has said that “the Government of Punjab has decided to impose a ban on pillion riding. Families will be exempt from this.” The chief minister also 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.
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 issue is that state and governments cannot simply leave it to the citizens to observe social distancing and self-quarantine at their own. The governments need to take certain measures and to impose restrictions on the movement of people to contain the spread of disease. These measures will help to contain the disease.
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02 April, 2020