The Punjab government has decided to enforce ‘smart lockdown’ on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha in the light of the federal government's directives to contain the spread of coronavirus. Chief Secretary Punjab Jawwad Rafique Malik presided over a meeting to review the arrangements for the enforcement of the smart lockdown and implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in cattle markets, in his office at 9-Aikman Road. Additional Chief Secretary Home Momin Agha, IG Police Shoaib Dastgir, Secretary Primary Health Capt (r) Muhammad Usman, Commissioner Lahore Division Danish Afzal and DIG Operations Lahore Ashfaq Ahmad Khan attended the meeting whereas Secretary Local Government Dr. Ahmed Javed Qazi, all divisional commissioners and RPOs participated through video link. Speaking at the meeting, the Chief Secretary said that the protection of human lives was of utmost importance to the government and all possible steps, including strict implementation of SOPs in cattle markets, would be taken to curb the spread of Covid-19. He said that the smart lockdown in Lahore and other affected cities of the province has yielded positive results and the number of new coronavirus cases continued to tail off. He said that shopping activities in the markets before Eid-ul-Azha can cause the spread of the Covid-19, adding that keeping in view the experience of Eid-ul-Fitr, it has been decided in the larger public interest to enforce smart lockdown on the eve of the upcoming religious festival. The Chief Secretary asked all the divisional commissioners to strictly enforce SOPs including wearing masks and ban on entry of elderly persons and children in the cattle markets.
He said that officials of the health department, local government, and livestock must be deployed in the cattle markets and joint teams of administration, and law enforcement agencies should be formed for carrying out inspections. He ordered that to ensure social distancing, only a specific number of people should be allowed to enter the cattle markets as per the capacity, besides setting up special counters at the entry points for screening. The Chief Secretary also issued instructions to continue anti-dengue activities and prepare a solid waste management plan during Eid. IG Punjab Shoaib Dastgir directed RPOs to ensure foolproof security, social distance, and other precautionary measures for Eid prayer congregations. The meeting decided to empower the deputy commissioners to extend the working hours of cattle markets in the districts as and when required. The Secretary Local Government informed the meeting that apart from temporary sale points, at present there are 300 cattle markets in the province. He said that the officers of district administration and the local government department are regularly monitoring these cattle markets.