Cabinet agrees to ease lockdown

0
52 views

-Final decision to be taken in NCOC meeting
-Provinces to be consulted over onward strategy
-Total virus cases surpass 22,000 mark with 5,801 recoveries

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday decided to further ease lockdown restrictions, newsmen reported. The decision came during a meeting of the cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan in the capital today.
It was also decided that the prime minister and his cabinet members, including all federal ministers, the premier’s advisers and special assistants will donate their one month’s salary to the PM’s Corona Relief Fund.
Over the course of the meeting, the cabinet members were given a detailed briefing on the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s efforts to contain its spread across the country.
Besides, the meeting rejected a proposal by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to give up the varnish coating of existing banknotes for the time being due to the coronavirus. It approved appointment of member finance of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).
The meeting also approved inclusion of 61 food and non-food items in the Compulsory Certification Mark Scheme of Pakistan Standards and Quality Certification Authority (PSQCA). The products added to the list will no longer be sold in the market without the PSQCA mark.
The meeting was also apprised on the implementation of the relief packages that the federal government has announced for various sectors in the wake of the pandemic.
In a major development, the Pakistan Railways on Tuesday decided to partially resume its operation across the country from May 10, newsmen reported.
According to details, the Pakistan Railways has finalized all preparations in this regard and will seek Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval on May 8 for the restoration of train operation.
Initially, 24 trains, including Tezgam, Awam Express, Khyber Mail, Green Line, Jaffer Express, Allama Iqbal and Sukkur Express, Millat Express, and Pak-Business will operate by maintaining the distance between passengers.
Passengers and railways staff have been asked to maintain social distancing during the travel, while sixty percent booking of tickets will be made through an online system. CCTV cameras will be installed in coaches of all trains including the engine room, according to the development.
It is pertinent to mention here that on March 24, Pakistan Railways announced the closure of all passenger trains across the country amid the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Earlier in April, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that train operation would be restored after the end of lockdown across the country.
He said Pakistan Railways has established hospitals at all seven divisional headquarters including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Sukkur, Quetta and Karachi to deal with the coronavirus cases. He said that quarantine train to Chaman would be a complete hospital with two medical coaches which would facilitate 500 patients. Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Wednesday to take a final decision on easing lockdown restrictions in the country, newsmen reported on Tuesday.
The meeting would be attended by chief ministers of all the province where a consensus would be developed on easing coronavirus lockdown country-wide.
The federal cabinet has already decided to further ease lockdown restrictions during Tuesday’s meeting. The decision came during a meeting of the cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan in the capital today.
It was also decided that the prime minister and his cabinet members, including all federal ministers, the premier’s advisers and special assistants will donate their one month’s salary to the PM’s Corona Relief Fund.
Over the course of the meeting, the cabinet members were given a detailed briefing on the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s efforts to contain its spread across the country. Besides, the meeting rejected a proposal by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to give up the varnish coating of existing banknotes for the time being due to the coronavirus. It approved appointment of member finance of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).
The meeting also approved inclusion of 61 food and non-food items in the Compulsory Certification Mark Scheme of Pakistan Standards and Quality Certification Authority (PSQCA). The products added to the list will no longer be sold in the market without the PSQCA mark.
Pakistan has reported 24 more fatalities from novel coronavirus during last 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 486 in the country.According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients on Tuesday jumped to 21,501 with an addition of 1,315 cases in last 24 hours.
Of these total 21,501 cases, 7,882 were reported in Sindh, 8,103 in Punjab, 3,288 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,321 in Balochistan, 372 in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 71 in Azad Kashmir.
Number of patients recovered from coronavirus is 5,782 now. As many as 9,857 coronavirus tests were conducted across the country in last 24 hours. With this the total number of the tests in the country so far stands at 2,22,404.
Punjab on Tuesday recorded 491 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the provincial tally to 8,133, according to the Primary and Healthcare Department.
The health department said eight more people have died from the deadly virus during the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 144. 2,680 of the total patients have recovered thus far, it added.
Some 25 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition, whereas 101897 tests have been conducted to date. At least 307 new cases of the novel coronavirus were detected and eleven patients died over the past 24 hours in Sindh taking the death toll to 148, according to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.
In his regular video message on the coronavirus situation in the province today, he said 307 new cases were diagnosed as positive when 2,250 tests were conducted. So far, 68,873 tests have been carried out in the province, he added.
The number of people infected with the coronavirus in the province has jumped to 8,189 with the addition of the new infections. He said 42 patients were discharged after full recovery over the previous 24 hours, taking the number of patients recovered to 1,617.
He said 6,370 patients are under treatment, including 5,139 in home isolation, while 736 are being kept at isolation centres and 495 at different hospitals. 82 patients are in critical condition, of them 13 are on ventilators, he added. Of the total 307 new cases, 307 were detected in Karachi alone, including 55 cases in Malir, 34 cases in district South, 70 in district Central, 45 in district East, 12 in district West and 21 in Korangi.
Twenty one infections were detected in Khairpur, 12 in Kashmore, eight in Larkana, five in Hyderabad, three in Sukkur and one each in Badin, Sanghar, and Shaheed Benazirabad.
The Sindh chief minister appealed to the public to take care of each other, stressing that it is only through strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that the coronavirus pandemic can be controlled.
The Balochistan government has extended the ongoing lockdown for 15 more days in view of the mounting coronavirus cases across the province. Balochistan government Spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said that the coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate and in order to stem it, effective measures such as social distancing and isolation should be practiced.
He said that the provincial government is extending the lockdown until May 19. Karachi has registered the death of another policeman from the coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the body count from the disease in the Sindh police department to two.
According to details, the Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell (AVLC) official was pronounced dead on Tuesday after falling ill with coronavirus symptoms on April 25.
Police said the cop was isolated at home on the advice of doctors. He was brought to the hospital on Tuesday morning and transferred to intensive care as his condition worsened, said police.
It must be noted that more than 50 police personnel have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Karachi.