Sindh lifts ban on pillion riding, small public transport during lockdown

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The Sindh government on Saturday revised its coronavirus lockdown restrictions it imposed a day ago, lifting the ban on pillion riding and allowing small transport to ply within the limits of Karachi.

The provincial government notified the following revisions in the coronavirus lockdown restrictions:

  • Milk shops, bakeries and carriage vehicles for dairy products exempted from timing restrictions, i.e: 6pm to 6am.
  • Home delivery from restaurants as well as under E-commerce permitted, provided delivery personnel are fully vaccinated.
  • Industrial establishments/premises other than export-oriented industries and related with manufacture/production of essential services may also be made functional given all employees at the industries are fully vaccinated.
  • Fertilisers/pesticide shops and warehouses are exempted from timing restrictions provided that the entire staff working at these premises is fully vaccinated.
  • Small public transport (taxi, cab, rickshaw, Qingqi, etc) may ply within the city limits.
  • Large public transport (buses, mini-buses and wagons) may ply within the city limits for public transportation exclusively and only to and from the designated vaccination centres.
  • The restriction of not carrying more than two persons in private vehicles is waived-off.

Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister Murtaza Wahab, addressing a press conference, said an ease in a few restrictions including resumption of small public transport (taxi, cab, rickshaw, qinquis) was aimed at encouraging people to visit vaccination centres in their respective areas.

He, however, clarified that large public transport vehicles (bus, mini-buses and wagons) would be allowed to ply exclusively to and from designated vaccination centres.

The Sindh government had on Friday decided to impose a lockdown in the province from from July 31 till August 8 amid rising Covid-19 cases.

“During this nine-day lockdown, we want people to come out of homes only for vaccination purposes and no other activity whatsoever,” Murtaza Wahab said in a presser today.

He added that industries and companies with 100 per cent vaccination of their employees were now being allowed to operate.

Wahab also said it had also been notified that restriction of not carrying more than two persons in a vehicle had been waived off. “But the number of persons in the said vehicles is restricted to the prescribed capacity of the vehicle concerned,” he added.

Likewise, the chief minister’s aide said any shop violating the government order will also be sealed for 30 days, adding that the same was the case with restaurants allowing indoor dining in contravention of the orders.

Explaining the initiatives taken by the Sindh’s coronavirus task force, Wahab said the provincial administration had decided to use a “tactic” to persuade people to get themselves vaccinated.

“In this regard, it was decided that mobile SIM cards of unvaccinated people will be blocked, and you can see vaccination stats after four days of the announcement — there’s an exponential increase in it,” he said.

He said at least 185,406 people got vaccinated against Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, “which is a big number”. He added it was a result of narrative developed by the Sindh government in the last four to five days.

“Lockdown has begun today and people are turning up in large numbers at vaccination centres. We are also planning to establish more vaccination centres,” Wahab said.

He also highlighted that if the administration indulged in a wrong action, then it will also face retribution.

“Our ministers, MPAs, police personnel have all been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and it is a request to everyone to get the jab and listen to the experts and doctors as they all are recommending it,” he appealed.

Earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had emphasised on the Sindh government to “immediately” open industries that it had shut under its nine-day province-wide lockdown announced yesterday.

“The way Sindh government is trying to impose restrictions, it will only add to plights of common men. The province is the jugular vein of Pakistan’s economy and when it’s improving, you are talking about imposing a lockdown,” the minister lamented.

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