COVID-19: Punjab to ease lockdown restrictions for four days a week

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Punjab information minister Fayyaz Chohan said that Punjab will witness a complete lockdown on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while restrictions will be relaxed in the four other working days of the week when all shops and markets will remain open with proper implementation of all SOPs.

“Big plazas and shopping centers will remain closed for seven days,” he said, speaking to media. 

Responding to the hue and cry of the traders’ community, Chohan said that the notification regarding new decisions in the province will be issued shortly.

Maintaining that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar stands by the affectees of coronavirus, he said that the Government of Punjab had launched relief packages for the frontline workers before any other provincial government.

“In acknowledgment of the services of media workers, the government has decided to allocate Rs100,000 for any media worker who contracts coronavirus in line of duty,” the provincial minister said, adding that in case the worker succumbs to the virus, Rs 1mn will be given to the affectees’ families along with a monthly pension of Rs 10,000.

Punjab business community awaits notification from provincial government

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement to relax the lockdown across the country from Saturday, the business community in Punjab still awaits an official notification from the provincial government to resume commercial operations in the province.

As of today, few shops were opened in Lahore, whereas, the major markets were closed in the capital city.

“We are waiting for official notification from the officials in order to resume operations after prime minister’s announcement earlier on Thursday, however, we have not received any instructions regarding the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the provincial government as of yet,” said one of the traders.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to ease the lockdown in Pakistan given the impact it has had on the economy.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC), which is the apex coronavirus decision-making body comprising top civil and military leaders, including the provincial chief executives, PM Imran had said the country would be opened “in a phased manner from Saturday”.

“It is now the responsibility of the masses to follow the rules; otherwise, we would be forced to reverse the decision. I was in favour of allowing public transport but the provinces did not agree to it.

“It has therefore been decided that the provinces will make their own standard operating procedures (SOPs) and share [them] with the Centre.”

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