District admin rejects traders’ demand to postpone lockdown until after Eidul Azha

Updated Jul 01 2020

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View of the jampacked Liaquat Road in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. The district administration will be sealing Bara Market located along this road as well as Narankari Bazaar to contain the spread of coronavirus. — INP
View of the jampacked Liaquat Road in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. The district administration will be sealing Bara Market located along this road as well as Narankari Bazaar to contain the spread of coronavirus. — INP

RAWALPINDI: The district administration on Tuesday rejected traders’ demands to lock down Narankari Bazaar and Bara Market after Eidul Azha and also unsealed 22 areas that had been sealed two weeks ago after a surge in Covid-19 cases.

However, eight other areas localities have been locked down.

The district administration has also rejected traders’ demands to seal Narankari Bazaar and Bara Market after Eid.

“We did not give relaxations to the traders because they failed to take precautions and implement standard operating procedures (SOP) in the main markets,” Additional Deputy Commissioner Zaheer Anwar Jappa said.

22 areas have been unsealed after two weeks, eight others locked down in Pindi

He said that traders’ representatives from both markets met with the administration, asking for them to be sealed after Eid, but they were told the lockdown will be in place soon after a notification from the Punjab Home Department is received.

Mr Jappa said that visitors and shopkeepers in markets have not complied with SOPs introduced to limit the spread of the coronavirus. People are not practicing social distancing and wearing masks and markets have not provided hand washing facilities or sanitisers.

The administration has identified hotspots where a high number of cases are being reported, and has no choice but to enforce lockdowns, he said.

Narankari Bazaar Traders Association President Sheikh Sadaqat told Dawn that they had asked for the lockdown to be postponed until after Eid because the food supply chain would be disrupted, but the administration refused.

Mr Sadaqat said traders would begin agitation, but added that there is no plan in place in this regard and one would be made after consultation with other traders.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq told Dawn that “we lifted the lockdown in 22 localities and sealed eight more localities in the garrison city to limit the spread of the coronavirus”.

He said that residents and shopkeepers in these eight areas have been told that the lock down will remain in force till July 3. A total of 50,920 households are affected.

The sealed areas are Gulzar-i-Quaid, Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Dhoke Ali Akbar, Kotha Kalan, Morgah and Takhatpari, along with Narankari Bazaar and Bara Market.

Mr Haq said that the number of Covid-19 cases reported has fallen in the 22 localities that were sealed earlier. These areas are Dhoke Kala Khan, Qayyumabad, Iqbal Town, Dhoke Paracha, Dhoke Kashmirian, Kuri Road, Aliabad, Dhoke Ali Akbar, Sadiqabad, Magistrate Colony, Afandi Colony, Satellite Town Block A and C, Muslim Town, Khurram Colony, Dheri Hasanabad, Talli Mohri, Gousia Chowk, Jhawara, Tench Bhatta, People Colony and Allama Iqbal Colony.Also on Tuesday, 77 more cases of Covid-19 were reported in the garrison city and 42 patients have recovered.

The district’s tally now stands at 5,760, with 243 deaths and 3,056 recoveries. Currently, 933 patients are admitted to hospital including 290 patients from other districts and 1,528 patients are isolated in their homes.

Another 1,733 suspected patients are admitted to Rawalpindi city’s four hospitals and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Health and the Benazir Bhutto Hospital and Holy Family Hospital laboratories for testing; 359 people have been waiting for their results for four days.

Local administrations also have 6,200 under observation in their homes for two weeks after they were identified as having been in contact with confirmed patients.

In addition, 247 international passengers who arrived onboard various flights have been allowed to return to their home districts even though their Covid-19 test results are still pending. A total 1,985 passengers from other districts have tested negative.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020