Wearing face masks made mandatory in smog-hit Punjab districts

News Desk
Monday, Nov 20, 2023

LAHORE: In a bid to counter deteriorating air quality in Punjab, the caretaker government on Sunday made it mandatory for all people to wear face mask for a week in the smog-hit districts of the province.

“Prioritising health is our collective responsibility. Please adhere to the guidelines for a safer community,” said Punjab’s Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The notification shared by Punjab’s healthcare department said the high level of the Air Quality Index (AQI) due to smog poses a serious and imminent threat to public health in all age groups.

The government urged all citizens to take all possible safety measures for the prevention and control of airborne diseases in the province. Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department’s Secretary Ali Jan Khan said with the approval from the chief minister, all citizens had been asked to wear face masks during all kinds of outdoor activities.

“The above order shall be implemented in the areas of Lahore Division (districts Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur) and Gujranwala Division (districts Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahuddin), having highest AQI, for next one week i.e. November 20, 2023 to November 26, 202,” the notification added.

A day earlier, the government said it was planning to carry out artificial rain in the provincial capital later this month.Provincial Environment Minister Bilal Afzal said a team and working group would be formed to provide artificial rain which will consult on providing aircraft to carry out artificial rain.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court has ordered the authorities to close all schools and colleges on Saturdays in smog-hit districts. The court also directed the government to implement work-from-home policy for two days a week.