LAHORE (News Desk): Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Monday imposed particle lockdown for 14 days with immediate effect throughout the province for the next 14 days in order to control the spread of coronavirus. The decision was taken during a meeting of the provincial cabinet. Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Monday, Punjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar said that a high level meeting decided to impose a lockdown in the province and the shopping malls, markets, shops, parks, restaurants and public gatherings will be banned. The chief minister announced that the lockdown will begin on March 24 and end on April 6. He appealed the masses to cooperate with the police, army and law-enforcement agencies, adding that pillion riding banned has also been banned although families will be exempted, while public transport will remain suspended. CM Buzdar further said that essential service providers such as bakeries, medical stores, and groceries will remain open. Pakistan has started to take stringent precautionary measures as sixth death due to COVID-19 was reported while the number of cases have risen to 803 on Monday. The CM went on to say that the provincial govt has completed mapping and have gathered information of all the census blocks, their food requirements and the stocks available, adding that the government will ensure uninterrupted supply chain of food items and pharma industry. Earlier, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan government had imposed a lockdown throughout the provinces for the next 15 days. Sindh has the largest number of coronavirus cases in the country, with 352 confirmed. Pakistan’s tally is currently 803 with five deaths. Following the CM’s message, police officers in different areas of Karachi started patrolling the streets to announce the government’s decision and to urge citizens to stay home from today (Monday). In a video message, the provincial chief minister said that he had met politicians from various political parties during which they discussed the coronavirus and agreed upon certain steps that needed to be taken. On Sunday, addressing a press conference in Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan Law Minister Aurangzeb Khan said that the province will be locked down from midnight (tonight) for an indefinite period. He said that this will be called home lockdown and police and rangers will be patrolling day and night. On Sunday, Pakistan shut down markets and public places in several major cities of the country amid the coronavirus outbreak. The number of coronavirus cases in the country also jumped to 803. According to the provincial governments of Northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab, and Balochistan, the public have been advised to remain at home and avoid social gatherings. “In view of experts’ advice regarding social distancing being a primary preventive method and avoiding public contact, all markets, shopping malls, and restaurants shall remain closed with effect from Sunday morning till Tuesday morning,” the KP government said in a statement. The provincial government also declared an emergency and suspended all inter-district passenger public transport for seven days starting on Monday, the statement added. On Saturday, Punjab s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also announced a lockdown in the province from Saturday night till Tuesday morning. The Sindh and Balochistan provinces already announced the same restrictions to stem the virus’ spread. “Time for some tough decisions. CM [Chief Minister] Sindh has discussed with Governor Sindh, Corps Commander Khi [Karachi], DG Rangers & IG Sindh to ensure full implementation of Govt’s decision of keeping people at their homes. #SindhGovt will ensure that grocery & medical shops remain open As the number of patients of coronavirus has been constantly soaring,” tweeted Murtaza Wahab, Sindh government spokesman. The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 687 after the country reported new cases over last 24 hours. According to the federal Health Ministry, so far 333 cases have been reported in Sindh, 152 in Punjab, 104 in Balochistan, 31 in KP, 55 in Gilgit Baltistan, and 11 in the capital Islamabad. Three people have lost their lives to the virus in the KP and Sindh provinces while five recovered from the disease. Most of the new patients had recently returned from neighboring Iran, which has reported the highest number of cases after China and Italy. The virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 167 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. With more than 307,000 confirmed cases, the death toll is now over 13,000, while more than 92,000 have recovered.