Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced on Monday a set of new restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the province. Speaking to the media after chairing a high-level meeting to take stock of the current Covid-19 situation in the province, the CM announced a strict ban on wedding events from April 1. Marriage halls will be totally shut down and permission will not be granted to hold an indoor or outdoor gathering of any sort, he added. The chief minister announced that markets will close at 6:00pm. “We have decided to impose an effective lockdown in districts with over 12 percent Covid-19 positivity rate from April 1,” Buzdar announced, adding it will continue until April 11. “The effective lockdown doesn’t mean that we are closing down everything,” he cleared. “We are not imposing any ban on business and industrial activities for the time being,” he further said. Similarly, a decision has also been made to close down mass transit transport which includes metro bus service, orange metro train and speedo bus service, he said. Buzdar said that restaurants will be allowed to offer only take away services. “We are facing a third Covid wave that is far more dangerous,” the chief minister pointed out. The CM maintained that non-compliance with SOPs will result in further deterioration and added that the Punjab government is striving hard to implement the restrictions. The people can remain safe from the deadly virus by wearing face masks, he added. More than 15,000 tests can be conducted every day as 22 BSL-III labs are working in the province. Along with it, 126 vaccine centres are established in the province and 121527 healthcare workers have been given the first dose. A total of 456000 doses of corona vaccine have been received and 54885 healthcare workers have also been given the second dose. 151447 citizens of more than 60 years of age have been vaccinated as well, he added. The government machinery is fully active to save the citizens from corona and the people should also observe precautions while extending cooperation to the government machinery, he added. Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that students were given a fee discount last year when schools were closed down by the government. “We have to give relief to both parents as well as the schools as several schools were closed down afterwards,” he added. He said that the schools are not closed down in 26 districts and students are attending their institutions according to the SOPs. The government will try to ensure that schools of other districts are also opened after April 11, he added. “I have met with the delegation of teachers engaged in agitation and a promise has been made with them that genuine demands will be fulfilled from 5 to 9 April but the teachers did not fulfil their commitment,” he said while giving a reply to another question. Earlier in the day, Punjab reported 2,309 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 deaths in the last 24 hours, the provincial health department said in a statement. “In a day 17 more patients have died of Covid-19 coronavirus in the province,” Punjab’s Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department stated. The tally of total deaths by Covid-19 in the province has reached to 6244, the health department stated. “Lahore has reported 1,478 new cases of the virus in a single day,” according to the health department. In the third wave of Covid-19, a steep surge of infections being reported in Pakistan’s largest province is causing serious concerns across the country.