PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday issued directives to restrict congregations in mosques to five or less people to enforce social distancing in the face of Covid-19 outbreak.
To this effect, provincial relief, rehabilitation and settlement department issued a notification stating that in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, inputs were received from religious leaders and scholars from all schools of thoughts who unanimously decreed that if deemed appropriate by the government for medical reasons, it may place restrictions on number of persons offering prayers together in mosques.
It said that provincial government was advised by medical experts, therefore, in pursuance of emergency already declared it directed that only five persons or less people, designated by mosques including prayer leader, mozzain and caretaker should offer prayers together.
Other people shall offer prayer at their homes and this order shall be effective immediately and shall apply to all congregations till further orders, says the notification.
Sindh and Balochistan had banned congregation earlier last week.
The department also issued a directive to divisional and district administrations across the province, asking them to ensure physical distancing at service delivery points in their jurisdictions.
It said that was noticed that there was rush in front of banks and other service delivery points. “In order to ensure physical distancing, you are to detail staff to mark points for people to stand with at least three feet distance in the waiting area inside these through appropriate tools/points and to place your staff/police to implement this protocol,” said the directive.
It said that number of sellers and buyers within the establishment also needed to be kept to a bare minimum. The department also issued mechanisms for delivering ration to the families of quarantined people across the province.
It said that the district administration concerned, through the home department should communicate the exact address and contact details of the individuals placed in quarantined to the concerned deputy commissioner, who should make arrangements of delivery of the package to the family at its place of residence.
In Battagram, the tehsil municipal administration sprayed disinfectants in mosques and temples to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Dosti Rehman, the law enforcement officer of TMA, told Dawn that on the directives of deputy commissioner, they formed four teams equipped with necessary tools, masks, gloves and chemical spray tanks.
The teams were tasked to spray the mosques, gurdwara, bazaars and villages in the limits of the tehsil. He said that the teams were visiting union councils on daily basis to disinfect the areas. He said that the teams visited gurdwara and disinfected the premises for safety of minority members.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2020