PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday announcedpublic holidays across the province from March 24 to March 28 and suspension of intra-district public transport for a week to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The relief, rehabilitation and settlement department issued two notifications for the purpose.
According to them, public holidays will be observed from March 24 to March 28 throughout the province in a bid to control the outbreak of coronavirus.
The KP government, which has already suspended inter-district transport across the province for seven days, disallowed the intra-district transport for the period.
It also extended the closure of markets, shopping malls and restaurants in the province until March 29 and asked restaurants to suspend home delivery service, which was previously allowed.
Bans transport, extends closure of markets, restaurants
In a video statement, adviser to the chief minister on information Ajmal Wazir said pharmacies, grocery stores, karyna shops, bakeries, atta chakki, tandoor, milk shops, auto workshops, filling stations, chicken and meat shops, vegetable shops, and grain, fruit and vegetable markets (mandis) would remain open.
Mr Wazir said the people should limit their movement, while all public places, including markets, would be disinfected.
He also said factories would be closed until further orders.
The chief minister’s aide said CM Mahmood Khan monitored the situation and visited the quarantine centre in Dauranpur, Peshawar.
He said though the incidence of confirmed coronavirus cases in the province was intact, the number of suspected cases had risen to 275.
Mr Wazir said a convoy of four buses carrying 132 pilgrims from Taftan border, had left Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab, for Peshawar.
He said a postgraduate medical institute in Duranpur had been declared a quarantine centre for those pilgrims.
“The capacity of this quarantine centre is 150 individuals. It can be increased as and when the need will arise,” he said.
The chief minister’s adviser said the results of 85 of 275 tests had turned out to be negative for coronavirus.
He said the government had taken some strict decisions by extending the closure of markets, hotels, restaurants and other food outlets except pharmacies and ordinary shops until March 29.
Also in the day, a notification issued by the relief, rehabilitation and settlement department said all franchises of cellular service providers and branches of all banks should install hand sanitisers at entry points and ensure that all staff members use face masks and hand gloves.
It said more than five customers won’t be allowed to enter the premises simultaneously, while any staff member with symptoms of fever and flu won’t be allowed to remain on the premises.
Also, the administration of South Waziristan has announced the lockdown of the entire tribal district from 6pm on Monday.
An administration official said South Waziristan tribal district was an underdeveloped area, so the fast-spreading virus should be contained.
“Although the situation is under control, we still need to take precautionary measures to save the people’s lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, various political parties, tribal elders and civil society activists announced support to the district administration’s decision to lock down the district and seal all entry and exit points for two weeks as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020