K-P imposes partial lockdown as cases climb to 31

PESHAWAR: 

The provincial government on Sunday imposed a partial lockdown across the province for a day and a half, while all inter-district transport services have been suspended in the province for seven days.

The directions came as six new cases were announced in the province on Sunday.

A notification issued by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department (K-PRRSD) read that the lockdown will see the closure of all markets, shopping malls and restaurants from 9am on Sunday, until March 24 due to the constant increase in COVID-19 cases in the province.

The government has also barred restaurants and eateries from entertaining takeaway orders — wherepeople could collect food from outlets. Instead, only home delivery services have been allowed. Moreover, all inter-district passenger public transport in the province will remain suspended. The bar has been imposed under Section 16(A)(1) of the National Disaster Management Authority (K-P) Act, 2010, for seven days.

This ban will come into effect from 9am today (Monday). The notification, however, clarified that the ban will not apply to intra-district transport, private vehicles and all goods, freight transport.

Markets shut down forcefully

Following instructions issued by the government for a partial lockdown in the province, the Peshawar police on Sunday forcefully shutdown business centres, and markets. An operation was conducted in the walled city, on Dalazak Road, Hayatabad, Haji Camp and other areas of the provincial capital. At least 50 people were arrested for violating government orders for the lockdown.

K-P govt deploys doctors

Adviser to Chief Minister on Information and Public Relations Ajmal Wazir said on Sunday that at least 1,299 doctors will be stationed at quarantine centres which have been set up across the province to provide the best healthcare facilities to patients of coronavirus.

Wazir appreciated the efforts of healthcare practitioners in fighting the pandemic and serving their fellow human beings. “We know we are taking a tough decision for our people and K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan is fully aware of the hardships that the public is facing,” Wazir said, adding,  “we have to take such measures in the best interests of public health safety.”

The provincial adviser also urged the public to cooperate with the provincial government in implementing the decisions taken to control the coronavirus, as without public support it was not possible to control the pandemic.

Wazir divulged that once the virus was declared a pandemic, the provincial government modelled its response on the Chinese approach to control COVID-19 and it has helped deliver positive results.

The information adviser further said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the province has increased to 31 while the number of suspected patients currently in the province number 170. Wazir added that the death toll of the coronavirus in the province had climbed to three after samples from a woman, who had died while being transported to a quarantine centre in Dera Ismail Khan from Taftan in Balochistan, had tested positive.
(With additional input from Our Correspondents.)

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2020.