35 arrested in K-P for flouting SOPs
1,520 persons also fined in various markets
In the wake of surging coronavirus cases, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police on Tuesday arrested 35 persons for violating the National Disaster Management Authority Act and initiated legal action against them.
The authorities also fined 1,520 people in various markets throughout the province for not wearing face masks neither maintaining social distancing.
Separately, a meeting of the provincial task force on Covid-19 held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan,reviewed in detail the arising situation of the third coronavirus wave with special focus on the administrative measures to contain the pandemic including enforcement of smart lockdowns.
The forum, while expressing its concern on the increasing number of positive cases in the province, stressed the need for strictly implementing the SOPs and other precautionary measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Besides provincial cabinet members Shahram Tarakai, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Shaukat Yousafzai, Kamran Bangash, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Nauman Mahmood, Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz and Inspector General Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, the meeting was attended by administrative secretaries and other relevant high ups.
Briefing media about the decisions taken by the forum, the special assistant to CM on information, said the positivity ratio of corona cases were at an all-time high in 16 districts of the province even though schools had already been closed for educational activities.
Bangash added that a plan was under consideration to close schools in other districts as well where the rate of positivity is five per cent or above.
He informed the meeting that holding marriage ceremonies, both indoor and outdoor, in the highly effected 16 districts would be completely banned with immediate effect whereas visitors would also be banned in government offices especially the Civil Secretariat.
Bangash further said government offices would operate with 50 per cent staff but the provincial ministers may run their offices with less than 50 per cent staff depending upon the situation.
Another decision taken by the provincial government included closing down inter-provincial public transport on two safe days before the month of Ramazan.
A ministerial committee was tasked to take the transporters into confidence in this regard and engage them to ensure the implementation of SOPs in public transport.
The CM’s special assistant also assured that despite enforcement of smart lockdowns and strict implementation of SOPs, the ongoing anti-polio campaign would not get effected and a workable mechanism would be put in place for its continuation under strict SOPs.
Addressing the meeting, Health Minister Jhagra said the government was constantly working to enhance the working capacity of healthcare system, adding that efforts were underway to ensure that 200 additional beds were added to the existing strength of beds allocated for Covid patients in the major hospitals of the most effective districts within the next two weeks.
He announced that the newly established surgical blocks of Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar may also be allocated for coronavirus patients if needed.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2021.