The Punjab government has decided to tighten restrictions across the province as it continues to battle the fourth wave of the coronavirus, it said in a notification issued Friday.
The new restrictions are as follows:
- Markets/business activities to continue till 8pm
- Saturday and Sunday to be observed as “Closed Days” for all business activities
- Indoor dining banned, outdoor dining allowed till 10pm
- Complete ban on indoor weddings and social gatherings, 300 guests allowed in both under strict Covid-19 protocols
- Shrines and cinemas to remain closed
- Complete ban on contact sports
- Gyms will only be accessible for vaccinated individuals
- Office attendance reduced to 50%
- Public transport to accommodate 50% passengers
Essential services are exempted to follow the restrictions which will continue till September 15. The notification said stricter measures will be taken if required.
New Covid variant
Earlier this month, Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid
said that cases of the Epsilon variant have been reported in the province. “We
have started conducting sample tests and sequencing to find out more about it.”
The new strain was first reported in California in 2020 and
was declared a Variant of Concern by the US Center for Disease Prevention and
Control (CDC) after it observed a spike in its cases.
Studies reveal it is 20% more transmissible than other
coronavirus variants. In June, about 1% of the total Covid-19 cases in the US
were from the Epsilon variant, The Independent reported. The variant has been
reported in at least 34 other countries after it was reported in the US.
Rashid said that more than 70% of cases in Punjab were of
the Delta variant. To curb the rising number of cases, the government has begun
a door-to-door vaccination campaign in major cities of the province.