Is the smart lockdown really working?

The number of coronavirus cases keeps rising and have crossed the grim 221,896 marks by June 3 across the county. The government had decided to impose a ‘selected lockdown’ only in areas with a high rate of inflections.
Smart lockdown strategy
The NCOC, the nerve center handling the COVID-19 response, has identified 20 cities as potential hotspots for COVID-19 infections.
Seven of these cities are in Punjab and require restrictive measures. Several parts of Lahore, some with large populations of their own, have been sealed as part of the lockdown strategy.
Smart lockdown extended in Karachi
So far 89,225 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Sindh while 85% of the cases are from Karachi due to which the ongoing smart lockdown in Karachi has been extended till July 15 by the Sindh government.
Affected areas of Karachi
The smart lockdown was imposed in COVID-19 hotspots in Karachi’s Korangi, Malir, West, East and Central areas of the city, since June 2.
Korangi No-1, 2, Mehran Town, Shamsi Society, Saadat Colony, Mardan Chowk, Shah Faisal Colony No. 2, Malir Khokhra APara, Kala Board, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Khuda Ki Basti, Kemari Sultanabad and other areas were identified COVID-19 hotspots.
Smart lockdown imposed in 18 more areas
According to a notification issued by the provincial government today, the areas identified for the smart lockdown include Clifton, Defense, Lyari, Kharadar and Garden.
The areas of Kharadar under lockdown include Machhi Miani Market and Khori Garden, whereas, Dolly Khata, Shoe Market, Hari Masjid and Jilani Masjid areas in Garden West and Bazarta line in Saddar will also be sealed undergo a lockdown from today.
Furthermore, all commercial areas of Khayaban-e-Rahat in Defence will remain completely closed, whereas, business centers in Clifton Block 4 and 5 will remain closed.
Under the imposition of the complete lockdown, citizens will not be permitted to leave the house or roam outdoors without a mask and will not be permitted to leave the house without a legitimate reason.
Only one person in the household will be allowed to buy items of daily use by showing his/her ID card, the notification said.
In case of emergency, only one caregiver will be allowed to go out with the patient, moreover, pillion riding and all sorts of public transport will be banned.
With all businesses and shops — except grocery and medical stores —closed, industries in virus-affected areas will also remain shut and hotels, restaurants, takeaways and food delivery in the identified areas will remain suspended.
The deputy commissioners will be responsible for implementing the lockdown in the areas and those found violating the lockdown will face action in accordance with the law.
Closure of business centers
Sindh government has issued orders to close major shopping malls including Urdu Bazaar, Saddar and other shopping centers till July 15.
The business has been shut down in the worst-affected areas, but all activities are ongoing in other areas.
Closure of markets led to a rise in COVID-19 cases
Despite lockdown, citizens have allowed going anywhere. The closure of most of the city’s markets has led to an increase in crowds in open shops and markets.
COVID—19 infected citizens are also moving to other areas due to the closure of shops in their areas, leading to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
Opinions of traders
According to Karachi traders, closing a business is not the solution to the COVID-19, the government has closed the business and given free rein to the people.
Lack of collective responsibility
The situation is exacerbated by a public which opens flouts public rules and escapes punitive action. The government makes it compulsory to wear a face mask but this is hardly observed in public.
Shops have also failed to implement the ‘no mask, no service’ nor are shopkeepers wearing a face mask. There is no doubt that our lack of collective apathy is responsible for the dire circumstances we are facing.
Violators should deal in accordance with the law
The lockdown was planned by the concerned bureaucracy, health officials and security apparatus that were genuinely worried that the situation might get out of control if social distancing is not enforced.
Even today the brunt of the pandemic is faced by the health officials, bureaucracy and the security apparatus. It was due to lockdown that the things are still under control, though the health system has been fully stretched.
The bureaucracy and security apparatus are overworked. If there is a further surge in COVID-19 cases these three pillars of war against the pandemic might not be able to cope with it.
The administration has identified hotspots where a high number of cases are being reported and has no choice but to enforce lockdowns.
It is also responsible for the government for implementing the lockdown in the areas and those found violating the lockdown should be dealt in accordance with the law.
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