PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has extended the state of emergency in the province until Aug 10 under a recently promulgated ordinance in light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A notification issued by the health secretary with the chief minister’s approval on Monday night under Section 3 of the KP Epidemic Control and Emergency Ordinance, 2020, said the emergency was imposed due to the transmission of Covid-19 pandemic, which posed a serious threat to people’s health in the province.

The emergency will last 90 days beginning on May 12, the day on which the ordinance was promulgated, for virus control.

On Feb 3, the health department had imposed the Covid-19 emergency under Section 6 of the KP Public Health (Surveillance and Response) Act, 2017. The same day, the relief, rehabilitation and settlement secretary declared an emergency throughout the province for a period of 30 days effective from Feb 3 under the National Disaster Management Act. There followed another notification issued by the relief secretary on Mar 5 extending the emergency to June 1.

CM says restriction on inter-district transport to be lifted

Meanwhile, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that in light of the decisions taken by the National Coordination Committee on Monday, business activities, markets and shops would open across the province from morning to 7pm.

The lockdown for non-essential businesses and shops will be in place on Saturdays and Sundays, while essential shops will open throughout the week.Addressing a news conference, the chief minister said the lockdown relaxation was subject to the implementation of SOPs and guidelines issued by the provincial government.

He said the government had decided to lift the ban on inter-district transport but negotiations were under way with transporters on how to go about it.

Mr Mahmood said SOPs were being formulated for tourist spots in the province.

He said the government was fighting on two fronts at the same time during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have to fight coronavirus on one hand and have to save the lives of poor people on the other,” he said.

The chief minister said due to difficulties facing the people, the government had relaxed lockdown but implementation of preventive measures against coronavirus and SOPs was obligatory as it was the only way to save lives.

“Implementation of SOPs will be strictly monitored and in case of violation, the businesses will be ceased,” he said.

Praising doctors and health workers for fighting the virus on the front line, the chief minister declared them real heroes and said the government would extend all -out support to the families of doctors and workers killed by the virus.

He lauded the role of local government, police, district administration, media and others on the front line of fight against coronavirus.

Mr Mahmood flights from Saudi Arabia to Peshawar Bacha Khan International Airport had been restored, while special airplanes were being sent to bring the bodies of Pakistanis, who had died of the virus abroad.

Meanwhile, the relief and rehabilitation secretary issued a notification on Monday night for the implementation of the NCC’s decisions.

The notification said there would be a ban on educational and training institutions, including seminaries, marriage and expo halls and business centres, indoor sports clubs, gymnasiums and sports facilities, restaurants, cafes and hotels for in-house dining and stay, theme and amusement parks and arcades, cinemas and theatres, beauty parlours, public processions and gatherings, and shrines until further orders. Also, tourist places and hotels will remain closed.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020