By M Zulqernain
Lahore, July 27: Pakistan's Punjab government on Monday imposed a 10-day long strict lockdown in the province of 110 million people to control the spread COVID-19 on Eidul Azha.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the decision to re-impose the lockdown in the province was taken to avoid a spike in the COVID-19 cases during Eid which will be celebrated on August 1.
"We had a bitter experience of spike in coronavirus cases two months ago during Eidul Fitr. We cannot afford this again during Eidul Azha," Buzdar told reporters.
Punjab had lifted the lockdown after its imposition on March 24.
For the first time, Punjab has reported zero deaths since the COVID-19 hit the country over four months ago. On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country stood at over 92,000. In the country, the number of coronavirus cases reached around 275,000 with 5,853 deaths.
All business centres, markets, educational and training institutes, marriage halls, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, amusement parks, playing areas and arcades, beauty parlours and spas will remain closed from July 27 midnight to August 5, the Punjab government said in a statement.
"There shall be a complete ban on sporting tournaments/matches (indoor and outdoor) except non-contact professional sports without spectators. All contact sports and indoor sports clubs/facilities shall remain closed. There will also be a complete ban on gatherings of all kinds for social, religious or any other purpose at any place, public or private.
"All retail shops, markets, shopping malls and plazas shall remain closed," the notification said, adding that pharmacies, postal services, petrol pumps and takeaway/home delivery for restaurants are allowed to operate for 24 hours.
Grocery stores, bakeries, corner shops, fruit and vegetable shops, meat and milk shops and tandoors will be allowed to operate from 6 am to 12 am while inter-city and inter-district public transport will be allowed to operate round-the-clock, it said.