Pakistan virus
Pakistan Security personnel stand guard outside the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The PSL has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Image Credit: AP/file

Dubai: Pakistan’s most populated province — Punjab — has imposed partial lockdown for 14 days with immediate effect.

Sindh province already imposed complete lockdown on Sunday while province have requested help from armed forces to help them handle the situation.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Monday announced a 14-day lockdown in the province as part of an effort to contain the novel coronavirus. Shopping malls, parks and public places will be closed and pillion riding on motorcycles will also be banned. The lockdown continues till April 6.

Pakistan has started to take stringent precautionary measures as sixth death due to COVID-19 was reported while the number of cases have risen to 803 on Monday.

Balochistan government’s spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the province’s first death from the virus on Sunday in a tweet. The deceased was a 65-year-old man, under treatment at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, according to Shahwani.

Prime Minister of Pakisttan Administered Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider has also announced that a three-week lockdown will be imposed on Monday midnight to prevent the spread the coronavirus.The region has so far reported only one case of COVID-19.

Imran Khan allows army 

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved provincial governments’ requests seeking military in aid of civil power. The prime minister has allowed the provincial governments to enforce ‘partial lockdown’ on ‘need-base’. However, he ruled on complete lockdown in the country on Sunday.

Pakistan has recorded sharp increase in number of coronavirus cases over the last few days. The reported confirmed cases rose to 805 on Monday after noon (till 5pm UAE time). Sindh remains the worst-hit with 352 cases followed by Punjab 225, Balochistan 110, Gilgit Baltistan 71, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 31 and Kashmir 1. Six patients have recovered so far.

Three-pronged strategy

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Monday that the government was working on three-pronged strategy, aimed at containing Covid-19 virus, provision of healthcare and food at affordable rates and assistance to business community to run their businesses.

“The government is faced with a challenging situation and in this challenging situation, the prime objective of the government is to do three things: (A) Contain the Virus, (B) provide health care facilities, essential food items at affordable rates and help to maintain enough cash in hand to the common man and (C) provide help and assistance to the business community to run their businesses during the times of the pandemic without a permanent set back to the economy,” the advisor .

“Have faith that the government is there to support you,” Shaikh told the businessmen and asked them to look after the daily wagers and workers who were outside the registered regime as helping them was also a social responsibility.

Pakistan army support

Special Corps Commanders’ Conference chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa was held at General Headquarters (GHQ) on single point agenda with regards to COVID-19.

According to ISPR press release, Corps Commanders participated through video link from respective Corps Headquarters.

Forum reviewed countrywide spread of COVID-19 and deliberated army’s readiness to assist civil administration to contain the pandemic.

All available troops of Pakistan Army and it’s medical resources across the country have been tasked to be ready to assist activities in concert with civil administration on short notice.

“Nothing can defeat a responsible and determined nation. Pakistan Army being part of national effort shall serve and protect the nation as a sacred duty InshAllah,” COAS said