P.M. Raja Farooq Haider says religious, social gatherings will be curtailed, face masks made mandatory in public spaces
The government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday announced it had decided “in principle” to re-impose movement restrictions in the region following a surge in coronavirus cases.
Following a meeting of the region’s authorities, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said that the positivity ratio of coronavirus infections had surged to 8.3 percent and the government was seeking a new lockdown “before things get out of hand.” He said that authorities had decided to curtail religious and social gatherings, adding security forces had been directed to begin monitoring the health of travelers at the entry points of the region.
The prime minister also stressed that government-issued safety protocols should be implemented in all public transport and educational institutions and said citizens should continue to wear masks in public spaces to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan-administered Kashmir, along with the rest of the country, imposed a full lockdown on March 23, which was subsequently followed by easing of restrictions and the implementation of a “smart” lockdown. While the region reported relatively few infections in the early days of the pandemic, there has been a marked increase since the resumption of tourism and free flow of movement nationwide.
Thus far, the region has reported 2,816 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 76 deaths, and 2,408 recoveries. There are more than 300 active cases of COVID-19 currently in the region.
In a posting on Twitter, P.M. Haider said that he had directed authorities to draft a new lockdown policy within two days. “How can we, with limited resources, overcome coronavirus, when the world’s major economies could not tackle it,” he said, adding, “Before the situation gets out of hand, we have to take stringent measures.”