PM Imran Khan okays ending lockdown in phases

Markets, construction sector to open. Schools and public transport to remain closed for now

Government of Pakistan will soften restrictions from May 9 as it looks to end the lockdown in phases. Prime Minister Imran Khan hoped that the public would adhere to the SOPs in order to make this phase a success.

“We have decided to lift the lockdown … I must make it clear that lockdown will be lifted from Saturday … not from tomorrow, but from Saturday,” the prime minister said.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar gave more details about the changes from May 9. Firstly, more sectors related to construction will be opened. In the health sectors, some selected OPDs will be allowed to operate.

Markets will be allowed to open, including the smaller ones. They will be allowed to operate from after Sehri to 5 pm. They will also be closed for two days a week.

Federal education minister Shafqat Mehmood said that all schools, universities, and other educational institutions would remain closed till July 15. Student promotions will be based on their previous academic performance.

Public transport will remain closed for now as the provinces have expressed reservations. The PM said that he wants the common man’s mode of transport to be restored. “I believe public transport should be reopened because it is the common man’s mode of transport, but the provinces have reservations. We do not want to make decisions unless there is unanimity,” Khan said.

However, SOPs are being formulated to ensure the earliest opening of public transport. “We have asked the provinces to make SOPs so that public transport could be made functional. Public transport has even opened in the countries where 30,000 people passed away due to coronavirus,” he added.

Currently, there are about 24,100 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Pakistan. Nearly 6,500 have recovered, and 564 have passed away due to COVID-19.

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