Punjab tightens restrictions as coronavirus cases spike

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Punjab CM Usman Buzdar gives updates on the new restrictions in Punjab as coronavirus cases continue increasing.
His announcements came after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus to review the pandemic situation.
Punjab recorded 2,823 new COVID-19 infections on March 27, surpassing the previous record of 2,705 set on July 12.
LAHORE: The Punjab government has tightened restrictions across the province to control the COVID-19 spread, especially in Lahore.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced the new restrictions at a press conference on Saturday.

Buzdar’s announcement comes after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus which reviewed the pandemic situation.

The session was attended by provincial ministers Raja Basharat, Dr Yasmin Rahsid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Murad Raas, Yasir Humayon, Firdous Ashiq Awan and other senior government officials.

Punjab COVID-19 situation worsens
The COVID-19 situation in the provincial capital has worsened further despite smart lockdowns and other restrictions.

Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said people are not following the coronavirus SOPs and the results are not encouraging from Lahore and other five major cities of the province where the authorities have imposed smark lockdowns.

The surge in Lahore is overwhelming hospitals, as the death count and new patients spike in what could be the worst stretch of the pandemic to date in the province.

One of the largest state-owned health facilities in Lahore, Mayo Hospital, has a total of 325 beds in its coronavirus ward. On Sunday, 253 beds were occupied, therefore more than 77%, according to data seen by Geo.tv.

“The situation is pretty bad here,” a senior doctor at Mayo Hospital told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity, “We are not accepting serious patients anymore because our Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are working at full capacity.”

96 cases filed over violations in Lahore
Meanwhile, the Lahore administration has filed nearly 100 cases over SOP violations. CCPO Lahore Ghulam Mohammad Dogar said that joint teams have been constituted to check violation of government directives.

According to the latest government data, 2,309 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 215,227 in Punjab.

Out of these new cases 1,478 have been reported in Lahore, 22 in Shekhupura, 145 in Rawalpindi, 45 in Sialkot, 21 in Gujrat, 77 in Multan, 29 in Khanweal, 120 in Faisalabad, 29 in Chiniot, 44 in Toba Tek Singh, and 24 in Jhang.

However, the death toll has risen to 6.244 after 17 more succumbed to the virus while 185,877 have recovered from the disease.

Highest single-day toll
Punjab recorded 2,823 new COVID-19 infections on March 27, surpassing the previous record of 2,705 set on July 12. Officials say that the province is in the grip of third wave of the virus, which is being driven by a UK-variant of the disease.

Majority of the new cases were recorded in Lahore alone, the capital of Punjab. In the city, on Saturday, 1,725 people tested positive for the deadly virus, which was the second-highest tally reported in the city since the outbreak in Pakistan in late February last year.

Separately, Punjab’s cities – Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala – have continued to record the highest test positive percentage in the country, much above the WHO-mandated 5%.

Meanwhile, the province will be entering its third phase of the vaccination drive on Sunday as it begins to vaccinate people over 50 years of age in the province.

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