K-P grocers to close by 4pm
Use of face masks in public areas made mandatory
PESHAWAR: With the fasting month of Ramazan commencing in the province, the provincial government on Friday modified its novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown regulations, direction shops of essential commodities and daily use items to close their shutters by 4pm every day.
The decision will also apply to restaurants who are providing home delivery or take away services, though medical stores can remain open around the clock.
This decision was taken during a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Covid-19, held in Peshawar on Friday with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair. Briefing the media about the decisions taken in the Task Force meeting, K-P Health Minister Taimur Jhagra and Adviser Ajmal Wazir said essential stores, including grocery, vegetables, fruits and milk traders can remain open from early morning until 4pm.
That forum, they said, had further decided to make the use of face masks in public places mandatory. They added that for the next week, people will be persuaded and educated to use face masks. Thereafter, the decision to wear the masks will be implemented strictly.
Jhagra and Wazir said that they had further decided that social distancing and other precautionary measures will be strictly implemented in shops which have been exempted from the lockdown.
Any store found not implementing social distancing measures properly will be immediately sealed.
“To ensure the implementation of SOPs formulated at the national level for offering prayers in mosques, committees will be constituted at provincial, divisional and district level to engage local ulemas for the purpose,” Jhagra said.
Wazir said that the total number of Covid-19 cases in the province had jumped to 1,541, with 85 fatalities. However, he pointed out that as many as 455 people have recovered from the virus so far, including 41 on Thursday.
He added that the forum had expressed its concern over the rising number of Covid-19 cases in some districts of the province and that they had stressed the need for strict checking at all entry points to sensitive cities to discourage unnecessary visits from people.
Wazir further quashed rumours that a strict curfew could be imposed in the provincial capital, which has become a hot spot for the virus.
He added that the provincial government remains in close coordination with the armed forces, who are assisting the provincial government in executing the Ehsaas Emergency Programme besides setting up quarantine centres in remote areas, such as the Khyber tribal district.
"Again, I will say that the only possible solution to staying safe during this pandemic is to avoid unnecessary movement," the adviser appealed.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2020.