MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has decided in principle to resort to enforcement of a lockdown across the state as cases of Covid-19 are on the rise again.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Sunday.
During the meeting, officials expressed serious concern over increasing number of Covid-19 patients — particularly in Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot districts —and directed concerned officials to impose a lockdown and come up with comprehensive and effective suggestions within two days, according to an official handout.
Mr Haider said that even major economic powers of the world had failed to contain the disastrous impact of the pandemic which strictly warrants nations with scant resources to follow precautionary measures at all costs.
He said: “We too have limited resources to deal with the pandemic and therefore we should leave no stone unturned to ensure that all precautionary measures and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are adhered to by all sections of society in letter and in spirit.”
The prime minister called for enhancement of vigil at entry points of the territory along with strict observance of SOPs already worked out for the educational institutions, offices and markets.
Similarly, he said, religious congregations as well as political and social gatherings should also be curtailed to keep the virus at a bay. He said his government is fully aware of the difficulties being faced by people but at the same time it could not leave them at the mercy of circumstances.
“A fresh campaign needs to be launched to remind people that implementation of restrictions is in their own interest,” he said, adding, those violating SOPs should be subjected to strict punitive action to set an example for others.
Earlier, the meeting was informed by officials from the health department that the ratio of Covid-19 patients in AJK was 8.3pc, which is higher than any other province of Pakistan.
As many as48,396 people had so far been tested for Covid-19 in AJK, of whom 2,816 tested positive, they said.
From the affected persons, 76 could not survive while 2,408 had recovered, they said, adding, 312 patients were in home isolation and 20 in different hospitals.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2020