AJK reinforces lockdown restrictions amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has announced suspension of relaxations in lockdown measures from Tuesday following a dangerous surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the territory.

“In view of the tendency of rapid outbreak of Covid-19 and increase of patients to a dangerous level, the government is suspending relaxations in the lockdown from Monday-Tuesday midnight,” a notification issued by the AJK home department reads.

“There will be complete lockdown that had been imposed earlier on March 23 under Epidemic Diseases Act, 1958,” the notification added.

In a statement, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider explained that his government was compelled to withdraw relaxations in the interest of public safety.

“I had been constantly calling upon people to avoid unnecessary travel, visits to market places and any other steps that violate social distancing,” he said.

The AJK government had imposed a complete lockdown on March 23, during which, only pharmacies and grocery stores were allowed to open for specified hours under standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The attitude of the majority of shopkeepers and visitors left little doubt in the fact that they were either totally oblivious to the danger or had been taking the SOPs too lightly,” government lamented.