Drastic measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Sindh have now taken effect. As of 12am Monday morning, Pakistan Day, a blanket ban has been placed on "unnecessary movement" throughout the province.
All offices, malls, restaurants, and public spaces have been shut down. Moreover, restaurants have been told to cease all delivery and take-away operations as well.
Sindh has so far recorded the highest number of positive coronavirus cases, at 333, while Pakistan's aggregate stands at over 700.
According to a notification issued Sunday evening, there was "a complete ban on movement of people including Intercity or Interprovincial travel or gatherings of any kind for social, religious, or any other purpose at any place, public or private, including all offices, public or private situated within the territorial limits" of Sindh.
The notification said anyone related to the health services like hospitals, laboratories, and medical stores, law enforcement agencies, any person in the need of medical care (with an attendant where necessary) or going to buy grocery and medicines were exempt during the lock-down.
"Necessary and/or unavoidable religious rites like last rites, Namaaz-e-Janaza, Burial and related events [were exempt] provided that all precautions against spread of disease are taken and a safe distance of 01 metre (3 feet) is maintained between people gathered in small numbers/ close family members after prior intimation to SHO of the area," the notification added.
"Assistant Commissioner and SDPO of the area will supervise and as and when necessary provide added force/manpower for compliance," it read.
Conditions for those exempted to travel
The people who were granted exemption were subject to the following conditions:
• Travel in single number in a vehicle but they may carry one more as an attendant in case there is some medical emergency
• One person per family may go out to buy essential medicines, grocery, etc., with a driver only in the case of elderly or handicapped
• Person in vehicles carrying essential food items, such as products from mills or factories, medicines, and medical equipment, with only a helper or cleaner allowed on vehicle and no passenger allowed on such a vehicle
• Persons travelling or going out as exempted were obligated to carry their valid identification card (or CNIC) and an official card or an authority letter duly signed and stamped by the Head; they were also required to travel & gather at work keeping in view social (1 metre / 3 feets) & taking safety precautions against the spread
The essential services, as per the notification, were as follows:
• Health and related services, such as hospitals, medical stores, laboratories, manufacturers
• Food and related industry or manufacturers
• Grocery stores, as well as general and convenience stores
• Fish, meat, vegetable, and fruit vendors, as well as dairy shops
• Essential municipal services
• Electricity and SSGC
• Water supply (including supply by water tankers where essential) and sewerage
• Port operations, PNSC, and Customs services
• PTA, PTCL, and NTC service staff
• Cellular companies' services staff for repair and maintenance of towers and cables
• Banks (with limited staff for services)
• Petrol pumps
• Welfare organisations, such as Chhipa, Edhi, Seylani, and JDC, providing essential services
• Media persons authorised by Information department, as well as newspaper hawkers
• Any other class as may be deemed essential and so declared by the Government