ISLAMABAD: The capital administration on Monday locked down Kot Hathyal, a union council in Bhara Kahu with a population of over 15,000, after seven people tested positive for coronavirus there on Monday.
Police were deployed around the area to partially seal its entry and exit points and restrict the residents to their houses.
Officials from the administration along with health and other departments started a door-to-door scanning of the residents. Announcements were made asking people to remain inside their houses for two weeks.
Besides, they were also asked not to be panicked as shops of essential items, including edibles and medicines, would remain open.
Ban has been imposed on movement, entry, exit and gatherings
The administration has decided to deploy a company of the army in Kot Hathyal as it was the lone affected area in Islamabad, said an official, adding the decision was made to make the lockdown effective.
Seven people of a Tablighi Jamaat, including a Kyrgyz national, tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. They were among a group of 13 people, including six foreigners, who had come to Bilal Masjid in Kot Hathyal a week ago.
They also visited another mosque, Makki Masjid, in the area and both the mosques have been sealed.
They also met local people in connection with their Tablighi activity. The test reports of the other members of the group are awaited.
A notification issued from the office of Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat said there was an alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the federal capital.
“This increase is expected to rise exponentially if adequate preventive measures are not taken timely.”
The preventive measures required primarily prevention of social contacts and gathering in any form, closure of private and public places except hospitals and medical stores, it said, adding under such circumstances a complete ban is imposed on the movement, entry and exit, mixing and gathering of people until further orders.
This ban is imposed at Kiani Road in Kot Hathyal on traveling, gathering and mixing of any kind. However, following persons are exempted from the ban:
“Personnel related to health services, including hospitals, laboratories, and medical stores, personnel related to law enforcement agencies whose job is to enforce and implement this order, personnel related to essential services, those going to offices to perform their duties or providing, essential services, persons in need of medical care with an attendant where necessary and persons going to buy grocery and medicines.”
Besides, necessary and unavoidable religious rites such as funeral, burial and related events provided all precautions against spread of the disease are taken and a safe distance of a metre (three feet) is maintained between people gathered in small numbers or close family members after prior permission from the station house officer of the area, the order said.
“The persons given the exemption have to travel in single number in a vehicle but may carry one more as an attendant in case there is some medical emergency, one person per family may go out to buy essential medicines, grocery, etc, with a driver only, person on a vehicle carrying essential food items such as product from a mill and factory, medicines, medical equipment with only a helper or cleaner allowed on vehicles with no passenger in it.”
Persons so traveling or coming out shall carry valid CNIC and official card or such authority letter duly signed and stamped by the head of department.
They are further required to travel and gather at work keeping in view of social distance of a metre and taking safety precautions.
Meanwhile, the army was deployed in the capital but it had not yet decided to carry out a lockdown.
The deputy commissioner told Dawn that the army troops were being deployed all over the capital, including roads, markets, hospitals and quarantine centres as well as the entry and exit points of the capital.
So far there is no decision to lock down the capital completely, he said, adding such a decision would be taken by the government.
Furthermore, the capital administration also issued an advisory for shopkeepers to adopt precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
A notification issued from the office of the DC said in pursuance to the directions of the federal government regarding precautionary and preventive measures and keeping in view sensitivity of the health-related issue all shopkeepers and owners shall adopt guidelines and measures.
They were directed to install hand sanitisers in their shops while their staff will use face masks and gloves. Besides, not more than seven people or customers would be allowed to enter a shop at a time and any staff having symptoms of fever, flue, etc., shall not be allowed to come to work.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Area police shut down all unnecessary shops, cafes and other services in I-8, I-9 and I-10 except grocery stores and pharmacies, said SP Zubair Shaikh.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020