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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 24, 2020

Balochistan goes into virtual lockdown as authorities impose Section 144 to curb coronavirus

Pakistan

Web Desk
Tue, Mar 24, 2020

QUETTA: The government of Balochistan on Monday announced strict preventive measures aimed at tackling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the province.

According to a notification issued by the Home and Tribal Affairs Department of the provincial administration, the authorities invoked Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code throughout the province.

The decision is necessary to ensure public safety, conserve lives, and maintain peace and tranquillity in the province of Balochistan, the provincial administration outlined in the notification.

The following instructions were issued by the province to the public, and in aid of law enforcement agencies as they begin to implement the orders in different parts of Balochistan.

  • There shall be a complete ban on all within the city, inter-district, and inter-province movement of people by all means.
  • There shall also be a complete ban on gatherings of all kinds of social, religious, or any other purpose at any place, public or private.
  • All offices, public and private shall remain closed

The provincial government also clarified that some essential services shall be exempted from these orders.

  • Personnel related to health services including hospitals, laboratories and medical stores.
  • Personnel related to law enforcement agencies.
  • Persons in need of medical care with one attendant where necessary.
  • Persons going to buy grocery and medicines within the vicinity of their residence.
  • Necessary / unavailable religious rites like the last rites, burial and related events, provided that all precautions against spread of disease are taken.
  • Any exemption that may be deemed necessary by the Home Department.

In addition, there were condition imposed the persons/establishments given exemptions from the order.

  • One person may travel in a private vehicle. In case of a medical emergency, one attendant may accompany the patient.
  • One person per family may go out to buy essential medicines, grocery etc.
  • Elderly or handicapped persons may be assisted by a driver.
  • Persons on vehicles, transporting essential food items, medicines, medical equipment, farms, mills or factories may be assisted by one helper or cleaner during the transportation.
  • All persons travelling as exempted must carry CNIC and official card or an authority letter duly signed and stamped by the head of the concerned department or business concerned.
  • All personnel of the exempted departments must travel and work keeping in view the social distance (1 meter / 3 feet) and take safety precautions against the spread of coronovirus.
  • Large departmental stores will only keep their grocery section open while all other sections will remain closed. They will allow customers to enter stores in smaller groups while fulfilling the condition of social distancing.
  • All departmental stores will ensure that their grocery trollies are disinfected after every use.

The companies and essential services exempted from the order were also listed.

  • Public and private telecom/cellular companies and their franchises with limited public dealing.
  • Call centres with no public dealing.
  • Banks (only essential staff) with limited public dealing.
  • Defence-related manufacturing industries.
  • Food items manufacturing industries and distribution offices.
  • Health and related services like hospitals, medical stores, laboratories, manufacturers.
  • Grocery stores, general and convenience stores
  • Fish, meat, vegetable/fruit vendors and dairy shops.
  • Dry port operations and customs services.
  • Petrol pumps and auto workshops.
  • Fruit, vegetable cattle and grain markets.
  • Welfare organizations providing essential services.
  • Media persons authorized by concerned media houses, newspaper hawkers.
  • Any other class as may be deemed essential and so declared by the Government.

According to the notification, the order would remain in force in the entire Balochistan with effect from 12:00pm on Tuesday till 12:00pm, 7 April 2020, unless modified.