PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government ordered strict Covid-19 restrictions in Nowshera, Swabi, Mardan, Chitral Upper and Lower, Mansehra, Kohat, Karak and Dera Ismail Khan due to high prevalence of coronavirus patients as 18 more passed away due to the pandemic and 770 new cases were detected on Wednesday.
All trade activities with exception of those dealing in essential items or services will remain closed in these districts after 8pm from August 23, according to a notification issued by home and tribal affairs department.
A health department report said that fatalities due to the virus in the province reached 4,714 and confirmed cases were 154,606 while 142,876 (92 per cent) of them including 742 recorded during the last 24 hours recovered from the infectious disease.
The report said that the province was home to 7,016 Covid-19 positive patients. The number of tests conducted on suspected patients was 11,381, it added.
18 more die of the infection in KP
Five persons died of the virus in Peshawar, four in Swat and two in Abbottabad while one each in Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi and Haripur.
The report said that infectivity rate for the pandemic kept soaring in Peshawar, Abbottabad, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera, Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan. Peshawar reported 187 cases, Mansehra 121, Abbottabad 57, Kohat 55, Haripur 50, Mardan 40, Dera Ismail Khan and Chitral Lower 36 each, Swabi 33, Malakand 30, Swat 27, Nowshera 23, Bannu 17, Kurram 15 and Charsadda recorded 12 cases.
The home and tribal affairs department said that there would be lockdown in the markets after 8pm in Nowshera, Swabi, Mardan, Chitral Upper and Lower, Mansehra, Kohat, Karak and Dera Ismail Khan due to rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
The order, it said, was issued on the advice of health department in line with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Act, 2020. These districts have been reporting more cases of the virus for the past one week.
It said that all commercial services, establishments and markets would be closed by 8pm whereas pharmacies, medical services, vaccination centres, tandoors, milk and yogurt outlets, hotels and restaurants, ecommerce (home delivery), utility services, petrol pumps and shops and workshops of agricultural machineries would stay exempted from the restrictions but with adherence to wearing face mask, social distancing and hand hygiene.
All sorts of trade activities will stay shut on two consecutive days (choice of days is discretion of the respective district administrations) on weekly basis. Outlets dealing in essential commodities will operate as usual.
Indoor marriages and functions have been banned while outdoor weddings are permitted with not more than 300 guests amid Covid-19 SOPs till 10pm. Indoor gatherings including cultural, musical and religious events are also banned while outdoor gatherings are allowed with maximum 300 persons.
Public transport including inter-city and inter-province will be allowed with 50 per cent capacity with adherence to coronavirus precautions.
All cinemas and shrines will remain closed. All types of sports, including karate, boxing, rugby, water polo, kabaddi, wrestling and other activities; amusement parks; water sports and swimming pools will remain closed. Public parks will remain open with observance of strict SOPs.
However, the vaccinated individuals can go to indoor gyms.
The district administration and police will work in close liaison to ensure strict implementation of the directives and penalise the violators under the relevant law.
The positivity rate for the virus swelled to 14.5 per cent in Abbottabad and 14.4 per cent in Peshawar during the last 24 hours compared to 13.6 per cent and 13.5 per cent recorded a day before. In Mardan, positivity rose to 7.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent and in Nowshera from 7.4 to 7.6 per cent. A total of 1,290 Covid-19 patients are admitted to hospitals.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2021