The Punjab government has tightened restrictions across the province to control the COVID-19 spread, especially in Lahore.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced the new restrictions at a press conference on Saturday.

Buzdar's announcement comes after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus which reviewed the pandemic situation.

The session was attended by provincial ministers Raja Basharat, Dr Yasmin Rahsid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Murad Raas, Yasir Humayon, Firdous Ashiq Awan and other senior government officials.

Under the new restrictions, bans have been placed on mass transit, wedding ceremonies,  indoor and outdoor gatherings and other recreational activities.

Restaurants can only keep takeaway and delivery open, while all shops will close at 6pm.

No ban has been placed on economic activities. Strict compliance, however, has to be observed with the standard operating procedures.

Buzdar urged the masses to show responsibility to follow the SOPs given by the health authorities. “We can not control the pandemic without help from the masses.”

Earlier, it was reported that the Punjab government is mulling over different measures to control the COVID-19 spread across the province, especially in Lahore where a complete lockdown may be imposed due to a high positivity ratio, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Monday.

The statement from the government spokesperson came as the COVID-19 situation in the provincial capital worsened further despite smart lockdowns and other restrictions.

Awan said people are not following the coronavirus SOPs and the results are not encouraging from Lahore and other five major cities of the province where the authorities have imposed smark lockdowns.

The surge in Lahore is overwhelming hospitals, as the death count and new patients spike in what could be the worst stretch of the pandemic to date in the province.

Health department sources said that the positive rate of coronavirus cases in Lahore has reached 23% while the situation is deteriorating further.