Pakistan Railways to suspend operations amid coronavirus outbreak

Rawalpindi: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid has announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the suspension of rail service from March 24 till March 31.

According to the federal minister, a recommendation had been made to the Prime Minister to announce relief package for the department and continue salaries of the railway employees in the aftermath of shutdown.

Earlier, speaking to a private news channel, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had hinted at the shutdown of the national railways’ operations with Prime Minister’s approval. He has expressed dissatisfaction over not being kept in loop about the shutdown of operations.

The railways ministry has shut down 44 trains from operating so far which has cut down the number of daily train passengers from 200,000 to 165,000. Pakistan Railways has also refunded train tickets worth Rs. 80 million to affected passengers which could be used to travel through alternate trains.

Prior to this, Sindh government had urged the federal government to suspend railway operations to curb the COVID-19 spread in the country.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country have surpassed 900 with seven reported casualties so far.