Business restrictions return in KP amid rising coronavirus incidence

Updated May 28 2020

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KP CM aide Ajmal Wazir says shops, markets in province to open from Monday to Thursday only. — DawnNewsTV/File
KP CM aide Ajmal Wazir says shops, markets in province to open from Monday to Thursday only. — DawnNewsTV/File

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday reverted to the pre-Eid market timings amid spike in the incidence of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Shops and markets will open from Monday to Thursday between 10am and 5pm, while pharmacies and other essential services will continue to be an exception,” adviser to the chief minister on information Ajmal Khan Wazir told reporters during a visit to different markets here.

Mr Wazir said barbershops and beauty salons would open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only under the standard operating procedures enforced to stem the spread of the virus.

He added that essential businesses, including medical stores, tandoors, bakeries and milk shops, had been allowed to operate around the clock.

The adviser said the government was fighting coronavirus and poverty at the same time.

CM aide says shops, markets in province to open from Monday to Thursday only

“Majority of the population lives below poverty line and that’s why the government eased lockdown,” he said.

The adviser said Prime Minister Imran Khan had always thought about the poor people, so the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme was launched for workers, the best and transparent initiative in the country’s history.

He said the second phase of Ehsaas programme would begin soon for the disbursement of cash by the provincial government to the poor.

Mr Wazir said Rs12,000 would also be given away to the beneficiaries from the Zakat fund.

He added that the number of 29,000 people registered for Zakat fund had been increased to Rs0.1 million.

The adviser praised chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, who was recently diagnosed with coronavirus, for fighting the virus on the front line.

He said an ordinance was in place to deal with hoarders with severe penalties.

Mr Ajmal said despite a lack of resources, the front line workers, including doctors and other medical staff, worked on the front line against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the government has said more than 100,000 calls have been received on the toll-free emergency helpline (1700) of the Chief Minister’s E-Volunteer Programme launched to provide free information and facilitation to the people during the coronavirus emergency.

Under the initiative, professional volunteers telephonically provide free advice, information and facilitation to the people related to various services including coronavirus awareness, health, psychiatry, pharmacy, rescue, municipal, women and child protection, said a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here.

According to the statement, 100,966 calls were received from April 12 to May 22 for information and advice and they’re facilitated by the volunteers engaged under the Chief Minister’s E-Volunteer Programme managed by the relief and rehabilitation department.

Of the calls, 41,365 were related to coronavirus awareness, 14,127 about health services, 5,594 about psychiatric services, 3,303 about pharmaceutical services, 3,713 about women and children’s protection, 4,599 about rescue services, 4,069 about municipal services, 9,721 about disaster management, 5,284 about Citizen Portal and 8,347 about civil defence.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said the e-volunteer initiative was launched to facilitate the residents in having easy access to various Services and facilities without stepping out during the coronavirus emergency.

“The provision of maximum facilities to the people on their doorstep during the lockdown is one of the focus areas of the provincial government. The result-oriented measures are being taken to this end including the launch of the e-volunteer initiative,” he said.

The chief minister appreciated the relief and rehabilitation department for effectively managing the operation of the e-volunteer programme.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020