–Two more people die of corona as cases cross 750
—Sindh govt enforces stringent curbs on public movement, suspend flights
–PM says panic will cause more damage, rules out lockdown
–Punjab, Balochistan seek deployment of troops in bid to implement anti-corona measures
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/LAHORE: As coronavirus cross 750, the Sindh government has decided to completely shut down the province for 15 days, whereas the federal government is still uncertain about the decision on account economic damage.
The number of cases was recorded at 764 on Tuesday by midnight, with two deaths reported in Quetta, Balochistan and DI Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “A woman who came from Taftan, who later died while being shifted to Dera Ismail Khan, her results are back and her samples have also tested positive for coronavirus. Therefore, three deaths have been reported from the virus in KP,” a spokesperson said.
CURFEW IN SINDH:
The provincewide lockdown announced by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah came into effect at midnight, cutting off the province from rest of the country.
According to a notification issued in the evening, there was “a complete ban on movement of people including intercity or interprovincial travel or gatherings of any kind for social, religious, or any other purpose at any place, public or private, including all offices, public or private situated within the territorial limits” of Sindh.
The notification said anyone related to health services like hospitals, laboratories, and medical stores, law enforcement agencies, any person in the need of medical care (with an attendant where necessary) or going to buy groceries and medicines were exempt during the lock-down.
“Necessary and/or unavoidable religious rites like last rites, Namaaz-e-Janaza, Burial and related events [were exempt] provided that all precautions against the spread of disease are taken and a safe distance of 01 metre (3 feet) is maintained between people gathered in small numbers/ close family members after prior intimation to SHO of the area,” the notification added.
“Assistant Commissioner and SDPO of the area will supervise and as and when necessary provide added force/manpower for compliance,” it read.
During the lockdown period, all offices will be closed and gatherings banned. Additionally, those who are not required to, will not be allowed to go outside in public. The law enforcement agencies will be told that if someone is out due to a necessity they should be permitted, adding that if anyone steps out, they should carry their Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) with them.
However, in case of sickness, people will be able to visit the hospital but there should not be more than three people in a car. Moreover, one driver and one passenger will be allowed in a car as per routine and essential services, including food supplies, will continue.
‘PM RELUCTANT TO LOCK DOWN COUNTRY’:
In a brief pre-recorded address broadcasted live on mainstream as well as social media, the prime minister called on the citizenry to exercise self-isolation “as much as possible” to contain the spread of the viral disease. “If you feel any symptoms of flu, it is better to avoid going out so that the virus does not spread to the elderly,” he said, adding that this would enable the healthcare system to take care of the people.
He also said that people should show self-discipline to “win this war against the virus”.
The premier further claimed that if Pakistan’s situation was as bad as Italy, he would have imposed a lockdown immediately. However, he noted, Pakistan’s financial situation does not allow this since there are daily wagers who have to be taken care of.
“The countries […] the developed countries, which imposed a [complete] lockdown, are rich economies,” he said, adding, “They have money, food supplies and resources to sustain [prolong lockdowns].”
“If you [the masses] cooperate with us [the government], we will overcome [this] difficult time like China.”
Imran said that the pandemic has his full attention and that of his team. “All my team is thinking right now is how to tackle this [coronavirus],” he added.
The premier announced that he will address the nation again on Tuesday with a plan for the industrial sector without further divulging into details. “I want to assure you we’re working very hard […] I will announce on Tuesday a comprehensive plan for the industrial sector,” he said.
PUNJAB SEEKS ARMY DEPLOYMENT:
On the other hand, the Punjab government requisitioned the army under Section 245 to help the provincial administration.
Section 245 empowers the provincial governments to requisition the Pakistan Army whose officials/troops would act in aid of civil power.
Speaking to reporters in Lahore, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar clarified that rumors of a food shortage in the province were false and urged citizens to adopt precautionary measures as advised by the government.
Punjab joined Sindh and Balochistan who had already asked for military deployments. On Saturday, the aforementioned governments wrote to the Ministry of Interior, seeking military assistance to maintain the law and order situations in their respective provinces.