PM announces phase-wise relaxation in lockdown from Saturday

Sindh, Balochistan unite against opening transport: Railway, domestic flight operations to remain closed: Small shops, markets to do business from sunrise to 5pm  

By: News Desk      Published: 03:29 PM, 7 May, 2020
PM announces phase-wise relaxation in lockdown from Saturday

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a phase-wise relaxation in lockdown from Saturday after the National Coordination Committee (NCC) failed to reach an agreement as the provinces had differences on some issues.

The disagreement came as Sindh and Balochistan united against easing the lockdown through public transport, as the meeting held on Thursday couldn’t agree on opening transport even within the provinces.

The meeting, however, decided that small shops and markets could be opened from sunrise to 5pm.

The NCC agreed that the railway operations and domestic flights won’t be reopened, while the inter-provincial transport too will remain closed.

After the meeting, Imran in a televised briefing to the nation said the meeting decided to introduce relaxations in phases despite the upward curve of cases, from Saturday as the poor, daily wagers and small and medium industries were facing a crisis.

No one can keep the lockdown intact for an indefinite period and the government is not in a position to support the people financially, he said.

The prime minister asked the citizens and the businesses to follow the SOPs after opening of different sectors and take responsibility on the issue.

Any spike in the coronavirus cases will force the government to shut everything down again, he warned.

Imran said he was in favour of opening public transport but they could not reach an agreement on the issue.

The provinces have been asked to define SOPs so that the public transport could be opened as it is used by the ordinary people, said the prime minister.

About the Pakistanis returning from abroad, he said the government did not have the resources to arrange quarantine facilities for them. He stressed that they would have to isolate themselves at their homes if the Pakistani nationals were to be brought back.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar shared the details of the decisions made by the NCC.

He said all the shops dealing with non-essential items will remain closed for two days in a week.

The out-door patient departments (OPDs) at all the hospitals would be opened for public, Asad added.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar gave the list of industries and the related retail shops which are being opened from Saturday.Pipe, paint, ceramics and sanitary, electrical cabled, steel and aluminium.

Meanwhile, hardware stores, shops in villages and shops/markets located in neighbourhoods are also allowed to open in this phase.

Federal Minister Shafqat Mehmood said educational institutions will remain closed till July 15, adding that all the board exams had been cancelled.

The students would be promoted to next classes on the basis of the previous year’s results, he added.

Adviser to the PM on National Security Moeed Yousuf said 20,000 Pakistanis had so far returned, while another 110,000 were registered so far for the purpose.

Pakistan will bring back another 7,500 people back home next week while extending the flight operations to more countries, he added.