ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday called in the Pakistan Army troops to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country.
The military will be deployed throughout the country as the coronavirus cases surpassed 800 with six reported deaths.
“The Competent Authority, in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 245 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Section I31-A of CrPC is pleased to authorize deployment of sufficient strength of troops of Pakistan Army in Punjab province depending upon the requirement to be worked out by the provincial Government in liaison with the Army authorities in connection with the prevailing situation related to the spread of COVID-19 and matters ancillary thereto, subject to laws enforced in Pakistan,” read the notification for Punjab.
Similar notifications were issued for Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The notification comes at a time when the number of affected cases in the country have soared past 800 and six have succumbed to the infection in Pakistan.
Sindh imposes lockdown, Punjab takes ‘important decisions’
The Government of Sindh imposed a province-wide lockdown on Sunday and the Punjab government decided to take important decisions to encourage social distancing and self-quarantine.
The lockdown in Sindh has been imposed for 15 days. In Punjab, the chief minister has ordered closure of all unnecessary shops and banned pillion riding. Section 144 has been imposed in the province which will continue for 14 days.
CM Buzdar had said that grocery stores, fruit markets, bakeries and meat shops will not be subject to the lockdown’s conditions. However, he had clarified that the province was not undergoing a lockdown neither a curfew.
“I want to make it clear to you that this is neither a curfew nor a lockdown situation,” he had said. “We are bringing a little changing [in the situation],” he added.
The chief minister had announced that all non-essential shops and services will be closed as the Punjab government takes precautionary measures to ensure the virus does not spread.