The Punjab government has extended lockdown in the province till 12am of 25th April and decided to immediately open low-risk sectors by ensuring implementation of SOPs to prevent coronavirus.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Secretary Punjab Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan. Commissioner Lahore Saif Anjum, CCPO Zulfiqar Hameed and officers concerned attended the meeting whereas Inspector General of Police Shoaib Dastgir, divisional commissioners and regional police officers joined through video link.
The Chief Secretary said that the lockdown in the province would continue till 25th April and keeping in view financial problems of daily wagers decision has been taken to open several low-risk sectors including chemical industries, IT companies, individual shops (Standalone) of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tailors, veterinary services, and offices of real estate and property dealers.
He said that books and stationery shops, glass manufacturing industry, paper and packaging industry, and botanical nurseries have been exempted from restrictions. Similarly, mines and mineral, concerns related to road sector and grey structure/ buildings (construction sites, brick kilns, stone quarries, bitumen plants etc) have been allowed. Engineers and Architect services and construction work in road sector has also been permitted, he added.
The meeting decided that the work would continue in sectors and industries already declared exempted from restrictions with the condition of following the SOPs and sectors and shops to be opened would also be bound to adopt the preventive measures against coronavirus. Implementation of instructions regarding availability of masks and sanitizers at shops and offices would be ensured. It was decided that the ban on public transport would not be lifted and labour and other persons would use their own private means of transportation.
The meeting also reviewed wheat procurement campaign in the province. It was briefed that wheat harvest in 21 district has started. The Chief Secretary ordered the administrative secretaries of food and agriculture departments to visit districts to oversee wheat procurement. He said that farmers should be given all possible facilities in wheat harvest and provision of Bardana (gunny bags). The Chief Secretary also issued directions regarding nominating Commissioner Lahore Saif Anjum as focal person for matters related to foreigners kept in quarantine.
Meanwhile, Provincial Law Minster Raja Basharat and Chief Secretary Punjab Major (r ) Azam Suleman Khan jointly chaired a meeting to review administrative matters and implementation of corona SOPs in view of extension in lockdown in the province. The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary Home Momin Agha, IG Shoaib Dastgir and officers concerned whereas divisional commissioners, RPOs and deputy commissioners participated through video conferencing.
The meeting took notice of opening of shops and industries in violation of lockdown and decided that only those industries can be opened which have been allowed in the order. The Chief Secretary ordered commissioners, deputy commissioner and RPOs to contact local chamber of commerce after issuing warnings to industries opened illegally and seal them in case of non-cooperation.
As per orders shops of plumbers, electricians and tailors can be opened standalone and chains associated with them cannot be opened in any case. Similarly, concerns related to construction of grey structure of buildings can only work. The meeting decided that the industries allowed to work would be bound to implement corona SOPs and any violation would not be tolerated. Factory workers would have to keep their duty card with them.
The Chief Secretary asked all administrative officers to ensure implementation of directions with the help of chamber of commerce and traders. He mentioned that all industries and shops to be opened would be responsible for providing masks and sanitizers for labour at workplace and disinfecting the premises regularly.
The meeting was briefed that Urdu translation of orders regarding lockdown have been provided to policemen for better enforcement. The meeting also decided that army and police personnel would conduct joint flag march. Raja Basharat asked officers to keep regular contact with Ulema and traders in the prevailing situation. The meeting was told that as many as 1053 participants of Tableeghi Ijtamaa have been sent to their hometowns after testing them negative for coronavirus.