Punjab government amended the lockdown imposed in smog affected districts

Commuters make their way through heavy smog on a road in Lahore.  — online/file
Commuters make their way through heavy smog on a road in Lahore. — online/file
  • Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura and Kasur will face lockdown.
  • Other districts include Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.
  • Due to smog, school children are facing eye and respiratory problems.

The Punjab government on Thursday revised the lockdown imposed in several districts of the province due to the prevalent smog.

In its revised notification, the province’s primary and secondary healthcare department notified that call centers and international information technology companies will be allowed to operate during the lockdown.

While markets in eight smog-affected districts will be allowed to operate today and tomorrow; However, shopping malls and markets will remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. The notification also said that cinema halls, restaurants and gyms will remain open as per regular schedule today.

This decision will be effective in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala Narowal, Hafizabad and Sialkot.

A day earlier, an environment and health emergency was declared for four days in Lahore, Gujranwala and Hafizabad divisions due to the prevailing smog conditions.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday after the air quality index (AQI) in the city was measured at 390, which falls in the hazardous category.

At this AQI level, the city maintained its position as one of the most polluted cities, with citizens experiencing smog and a hazy environment throughout the day. The air quality was extremely poor, making it almost impossible to breathe normally outside.

Naqvi addressed the media highlighting the discussions held in the expanded cabinet meeting. It was revealed in the meeting that due to the prevailing conditions, school children are facing eye and respiratory problems.

The Cabinet was told that four times more crops are being burnt in India than in Pakistan, which is contributing to the challenges faced by the region.

The decisions taken during the meeting included imposition of Section 144 in three districts of Punjab as well as closure of schools, colleges and all government departments. Additionally, a holiday was declared on 9 November, resulting in closure of educational institutions and government offices in specific districts including Lahore Division, Wazirabad, Gujranwala and Nankana Sahib from Thursday to Sunday.

Naqvi urged citizens to wear face masks and asked them to provide some relief to Lahore by staying indoors during this period. He stressed that these measures are temporary and will be strictly enforced with strict action against violators.

The Lahore Festival has also been canceled as a precautionary measure under the health and environmental emergency.

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