Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has announced to close down shopping malls, markets, parks and public gathering places from today 21st March 9 pm till 9 am Tuesday morning in order to make measures effective to be taken against coronavirus. It was decided during cabinet committee meeting held at Chief Minister Office to close down markets, parks and public gathering places from tonight 9pm till 9am Tuesday for the eradication of coronavirus. However, milk, yogurt, general stores, mutton shops, chicken shops, petrol pumps, pharmacy, bakeries, naan shops, tandoors, fruits and vegetables markets and shops will continue to remain open. Take away service from hotels and restaurants will also continue. Transport will not be closed across Punjab. However, masses should avoid undertaking unnecessary travelling, he added. Usman Buzdar while directing concerned departments said that no shopkeeper should be unduly annoyed or disturbed. He further appealed to the masses that the government is not taking steps for doing lockdown but rather planning to create social distancing. He further urged the masses to spend their weekends at home and should not go out without any reason. It is essential to maintain social distancing in order to permanently prevent masses from the dangers of coronavirus and SOPs are also being formulated in this regard. We are finalizing SOPs in consultation with the federal government for making quarantine at residences. Usman Buzdar further apprised that owing to closing down educational institutions and increase in public rush at parks, recreational points and markets, the government had to take such a strict decision. In order to maintain social distancing all public places will remain closed. He further directed that industries department should ensure provision of essential edibles in the province. Corona Emergency Ordinance will be presented before the cabinet meeting for approval on Tuesday, he stated. Chief Secretary will present provincial contingency plan before the cabinet on Tuesday while Finance Minister will also present social protection contingency plan. Usman Buzdar further said that for well off and rich patients, isolation/quarantine facility will be provided in big private hospitals. Law Minister Raja Basharat and Secretary Health will hold video link meeting with the doctors so that their reservations can be timely redressed. With the grace of Allah Almighty conditions are under control in Punjab and strict monitoring is also being carried out, he maintained. There are total 137 corona patients across Punjab so far. There are 106 patients at DG Khan quarantine, 20 in Lahore, 4 in Gujranwala, 3 in Gujrat, 2 in Jhelum and one each in Rawalpindi and Multan. It was also apprised to the Chief Minister during the briefing that there are more than 24 thousand gowns available for the doctors and paramedical in order to treat corona patients across the province. There are seven lac 60 thousand gloves, nine lac 44 thousand surgical masks, nine lac 20 thousand N95 masks are available across Punjab. Stock of five thousand goggles, 44 thousand show covers and 40 thousand sanitizers are available for the medical staff. Later, Usman Buzdar while replying to questions during video link media briefing said that Chinese doctors will also come to provide their complete assistance for the corona treatment. Consultations are going on with the private institutions to reduce corona virus test fee, he added. One thousand bedded hospital will be set up in Lahore while five hospitals are completely earmarked for coronavirus patients across the province, concluded Usman Buzdar. Provincial Ministers Dr Yasmin Rashid, Hashim Jawan Bakht, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Chief Secretary also attended the meeting while Provincial Energy Minister Akhtar Malik attended the meeting from Commissioner Office Multan, Provincial Secretaries from the Civil Secretariat Committee Room and IG Police, Chairman PITB and other officials attended the meeting via video link.