PESHAWAR: Even though the lockdown has been deemed essential to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has thus far claimed the lives of 31 people in the province and infected 697 others, the government is mulling relaxing some conditions of the lockdown due to the massive disruption they cause in the lives of its citizens.
A final decision on whether to gradually ameliorate the lockdown or to make it tighter is expected to be taken this week.
In a notification issued in late March, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government had imposed a lockdown in the province. The initial lockdown was supposed to last until March 31 but it was extended until April 14. This period was termed a public holiday in the province.
A senior government official, privy to the developments, told The Express Tribune that a decision regarding the lockdown is expected to be taken this week given the economic impact it is having. The official, however, suggested that the government may not completely lift the restrictive measures and that they may only relax the lockdown for a limited period.
Shoemakers to resume work
Fed up with the extended lockdown and with the annual sale season of Ramazan on the horizon, the Peshawar All Shoemakers Association (PASA) has announced that they will no longer abide by the government’s lockdown orders and will resume work from April 14.
This was decided during a meeting of the All Shoemakers Association on Sunday with its Peshawar district President Sajjad Wahid in the chair.
The meeting said that the lockdown had crippled their businesses and that they cannot afford to keep their outlets shut any longer.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Business Community forum on Sunday demanded that the government relax the lockdown by setting timings for different businesses which can help the traders’ community cope with their losses. This demand was made in a meeting of the Pakistan Business Community forum which was chaired by its President Sharfat Ali Mubark in Peshawar. The community expressed reservations over the lockdown in the province which has caused immense loss to the economy.
38 pilgrims quarantined in DI Khan
At least 38 people, who returned to the country from Iran, have been shifted to the quarantine centre at the Gomal Medical College on Sunday. DI Khan District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Hafiz Farooq Gul told The Express Tribune that upon their arrival, the pilgrims were disinfected and were shifted to separate wards.
Swab samples were obtained from them and dispatched for tests, Dr Gul said, adding that those whose tests come back negative and complete their isolation period will be sent home.
Swabi’s first Covid-19 fatality
The Swabi district administration on Sunday announced that it had suffered its first fatality due to Covid-19.
A notification issued by Swabi Deputy Commissioner Shahid Mahmood said that the victim was identified as Khan Sher, a resident of the Jagnat area. He had been admitted to Lady Reading Hospital on March 31 in critical condition, having already tested positive for the virus. He passed away on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a suspected Covid-19 patient from the Shakai area of South Waziristan district has tested positive. He is the first patient of the virus from the remote district.
District health authorities said that the patient had reportedly returned to the district a week ago after spending time at the Hafizabad quarantine centre. He was arrested on the request of the Punjab government and his swab samples were obtained. Results of the tests received on Sunday showed that he was positive.
Wana Assistant Commissioner Ameer Nawaz said that the suspect and around 55 members of his family have been shifted to the quarantine centre in Shakai.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2020.