Troops deployed across Pakistan to fight COVID-19

  • Tue,24 Mar 2020 08:09:31 AM

Islamabad, March 24 (IANS) Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered the deployment of troops and militarys medical resources across the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected 878 people and killed six others, a media report said on Tuesday.

"Despite heavy troop deployment along the western border and the Line of Control, the army chief has directed deployment of available troops and all medical resources according to the requirement," Dawn news quoted Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar as saying in a televised statement on Monday.

The announcement was made after the federal government sought deployment of the armed forces in all four provinces, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Under the deployment plan, the role of troops is apparently meant for enforcing the restrictions introduced by the federal and provincial governments to contain further spread of the virus.

In his statement, Gen Iftikhar emphasised that the restrictions would be fully enforced in cooperation with civilian administration.

Under government directives, schools, malls, cinemas, marriage halls, restaurants and swimming pools will remain closed and no religious or political gatherings will be allowed.

Public transport too will not be allowed to ply on the roads except for goods truck carrying food items.

The restriction on international flights, the military spokesman said, would remain in place till April 4.

The DG ISPR said the days for opening of fuel stations and wholesale vegetable/fruit markets would be notified by the respective provincial administrations, Dawn news reported.

Only hospitals, pharmacies, retail stores, pharmaceutical industries and factories producing food items will be open.

Emphasising the enormity of the challenge, Gen Iftikhar said: "Nothing similar had been witnessed in our lifetime."


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