By Muhammad Luqman
Despite Prime Minister Imran Khan’s opposition to the lockdown option, two big provinces of Pakistan-Sindh and Punjab have restricted the movement of citizens to their homes for two weeks after the number of Coronavirus patients reached 803 on Monday.
According to Federal Health Ministry, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in southern Sindh province rose to 352, Punjab province to 225, in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to 31, western Balochistan province 108, Gilgit-Baltistan 71, the capital Islamabad’s 15 while one case confirmed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Most of the new patients had recently returned from neighboring Iran after visiting holy places there.
Decisions announced by CM Punjab:
▪ All the restrictions imposed already will continue for next 14 Days
▪ Exemptions: Grocery Stores, takeaways, Pharma, essential services like Utility Companies, Banks, Medical services will be exempted from these restrictions pic.twitter.com/KHP4zgrUX6
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 23, 2020
So far, six patients have successfully recovered and discharged from the hospitals, the ministry officials said.
Usama Riaz, a young doctor who treated coronavirus patients in a Gilgit-Baltistan hospital, has died, raising the number of deaths in the country to six.
“GB Government declares Dr. Usama a national hero,” the spokesman of region’s government tweeted.
— Government of Punjab (@GOPunjabPK) March 23, 2020
All major markets, shopping malls, restaurants, and other public spots remained closed in most parts of southern Sindh, and southwestern Balochistan– the two worst-hit provinces.
Authorities closed Karachi, and Sukkur airports suspending air travel between Sindh and rest of the country.
Law enforcing troops used containers and barbed wires to block the major roads in Karachi, the country’s commercial capital, forcing the citizens to stay at homes.
The provincial government of Punjab on Monday announced the lockdown the province till April 6, asking the public to remain in their homes.
The KP government has also declared an emergency and suspended all inter-district public transport for seven days starting on Monday.