Various industries exempted from lockdown reopen

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ISLAMABAD – Various industries that were exempted from the coronavirus lockdown have reopened on Wednesday while other sectors will remain closed for two more weeks as per the federal government’s instructions.

The industries which have been exempted from the lockdown include Cement and fertilizer plants, Mines and minerals, Chemical manufacturing plants, Agricultural machinery and equipment producing units, Industries with site-accommodated labor, Paper and packaging units, Glass manufacturing units, All export industries with export orders confirmed by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, E-commerce export and local deliveries of essential products, Software development and programming firms, Laundry and dry cleaning services, Plant nurseries, Veterinary services, and Book and stationary shops.

However, all these sectors must adhere to the already provided standard operating procedures (SOPs). Furthermore, the professions on which the provincial and federal governments had differing opinions include electricians, plumbers, tailors, carpenters and street vendors.

The federal government allowed them to operate on the prerogative of the provincial governments. All provincial governments excluding Sindh agreed to allow these professionals to work.

It is pertinent here to mention that the federal government had on Tuesday extended the countrywide lockdown for two more weeks in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Sindh government had extended the ongoing lockdown till April 30 following the rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the province.

The Sindh home department issued a notification in the regard stating that all educational institutions, public places, marriage halls, shopping malls, cinemas, beauty parlours, electronic markets and markets or shops selling non-essential items will remain closed.

On the other hand, grocery stores, petrol pumps, general stores and medical stores situated in malls and supersites will remain closed from 5:00pm to 8:00am during the period.

People will not be allowed to venture out of their homes unnecessarily under lockdown, the notification said and added that only two persons will be allowed to travel in a car.

Plumbers, carpenters, electricians can work on-call according to the standard operating procedures.

The Sindh government also ordered public places such as beaches, parks and play grounds to be sealed. The ban on religious and social gatherings is also maintained.

The Punjab government extended the lockdown till April 25 while exempting cement manufacturing plants and their supply chains and transformer manufacturing industry.

According to the official notification, twelve low-risk industries including IT companies, chemical industry, technology hardware and others have been exempted from the lockdown.

The Balochistan government also allowed relaxation in the lockdown while permitting to open godowns and businesses associated with agricultural commodities, construction, veterinary medicine and animal food. 

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