–Dates of offices closure extended; shops closed up to April 7, institutes till May 31
PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Saturday approved a Rs11.4 billion stimulus economic package to provide relief to the masses and business community amid the coronavirus crisis.
Provincial Information Minister Ajmal Wazir, while addressing a press conference, said the relief package would benefit 1.9 million deserving families, adding that the business community has also been exempted from taxes worth Rs5 billion.
He said the provincial government has ramped up its testing capacity with 500 new diagnostics kits and it will be further enhanced in the coming days. “We will ensure that testing facility for coronavirus is available across the province.”
He said as of today, there are 180 confirmed coronavirus patients and 820 suspected cases in the province.
Wazir said 195 people had been tested negative for COVID-19 till yesterday whereas test results of 345 suspected patients are yet to arrive.
He added that the government was making unstinting efforts to provide protective kits to the frontline doctors fighting against the coronavirus.
Ajmal also confirmed that a woman belonging to Lower Dir area died on Friday and her medical report confirmed that she had coronavirus.
The deceased recently returned from Umrah, he added.
The provincial government is also initiating crackdown against profiteers and hoarders, said the minister, adding that there is no shortage of food items in the province and all authorities concerned have been directed to ensure smooth supply of essential items.
Meanwhile, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has extended the dates of closure in connection to control the spread of coronavirus, said a notification of KP Relief Rehabilitation and Settlement Department issued on Saturday.
The decision has been taken by the KP Provincial Cabinet in its meeting held the other day. The meeting has approved that all educational institutions (public and private) shall remain closed while all kinds of examinations and assessments in schools shall be postponed till May 31. The closure of institutes shall be treated as advance summer vacation.
Non-essential staff within the department shall not attend the office till April 15 and all officials’ gatherings including seminars, sports events, cultural events and entry of visitors to jails stand banned till April 30 to avoid the spread of infection in confined places.
The closures of shops extended up to April 7 except the grocery, medicine and essential items shops shall remain open 24/7. All restaurants, eateries, fast food joints shall remain closed till April 10 while home delivery shall be allowed to these establishments as well as pharmacies.
Similarly, all tourists’ spots already vacated while aside rivers and other spots stand closed till April 30. However, barbers and beauty parlours would also remain closed till April 7.
The closure shall not be applicable to pharmacies, grocery stores, karyana shops, bakeries, atta chakkies, tandoors, milk shops, auto workshops and petrol pumps, chicken and meat shops, fruit and vegetable shops and all kinds of mandis including grain, fruit and vegetables.
The agriculture inputs providers such as seed fertilizers and pesticide dealers, all franchises of cellular service providers and all banks shall continue to implement the protocols for their operations.
Construction activities, home delivery of medicines and food, money transfer facilities and immediate cargos have also given consent to continue its work under protocols set by KP Relief Department, the notification concluded.