Further relaxation in lockdown

Although the coronavirus curve is on the upward trajectory, however, government announced further relaxation in smart lockdown to save peopl from unnecessary inconvenience. The decision was taken in the meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC), chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister said that virus curve is slowly going up; however, the risk of spike in viral infection has not yet gone away. He emphasised for taking safety measures by people and observing standard operating procedures by the businesses and industry which have been permitted to resume economic activities. Small business will remain open five days a week from Fajar time after Sehril till 5 PM in the afternoon. However, shopping malls, mega stores, automobile manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, inter-city and intra-city public transport and train service will remain shut. The period of closure of educational institutions has been extended till July 15; enrolled students will get promotion to next classes as examinations have been cancelled, and admissions in universities for BS courses shall be done on the students’ score in first year intermediate examinations. The noteworthy decision of the NCC pertains to selective opening of outpatient departments in hospitals, which were previously closed. The closure of this outdoor medical facility had created difficulty for the patients seeking treatment of diseases of ordinary nature. They were then compelled to consult doctors in private clinics in the afternoon, which remained open just for few hours to comply with the lockdown instructions of the government. Notwithstanding the strict adherence to theses instruction, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Police in the capital city declared an open seasons on doctors and consultant specialists in Dagari Gardens’ Medical Centers of Peshawar City, maltreating doctors and patients. In a Suo Motu case hearing of Covid -19 on May 4, a five member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmad directed the provincial government to take action in the matter. Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government showed ignorance about the incident; however, the apex court was not satisfied with the replies of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government and directed secretary health department to probe the matter and submit a report on the next hearing. Earlier, construction and textile sectors had been allowed to resume their functions. Textile sector resumed production activities, but their business is not taking off. All Pakistan Textiles Mills Association (APTIMA) has urged the government to permit all value chain to avoid total closure, which will lead to massive unemployment. The Association Chairman of Sind and Baluchistan Chapter, Zahid Mazhar said that textile industry is strictly observing the prescribed measures and SOPs. By and large, general public is neglecting the safety measures such as keeping of distance from 1 to 2 meters, wearing masks and gloves in crowded situations. This sort of behaviour will certainly give impetus to local transmission rate of coronavirus, increasing the pressure on healthcare system.