The government signed a Rs442 billion contract with a joint venture of China Power and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam. Chinese state-run firm holds 70 per cent and the FWO, a commercial arm of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, 30pc share in the consortium. Signed contract covers construction of a diversion system, main dam, access bridge and the 21MW Tangir hydropower project.
Multiple shops and markets were sealed in Lahore on Thursday for not following the government SOPs. The government had issued these SOPs to shopkeepers to follow to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. They include practices such as making hand sanitiser available within stores and ensuring social distancing is maintained. Forty-five shops in Shah Alam Market were sealed and seven in Chongi Amar Sidhu.
Pakistan along with Russia and Mexico accounted for almost half of global Facebook content removal requests. A total of 15,826 content restrictions were made by Facebook globally during July-December 2019. Facebook restricted 2,300 items within Pakistan (the second highest after Russia with 2,900 pieces removed) during the second half of 2019. In the first half, Pakistan had reported the highest volume of content (31 per cent) to Facebook.
The textile industry in Faisalabad has resumed operations despite the lockdown. An owner of a power loom said that the industry was reopened after taking into account the financial woes of workers. He said factory owners will only be able to pay their employees if business continues. Some industrial units are screening their workers for the coronavirus and making sure they follow the SOPs issued by the government as well.
Islamabad has made testing of the novel coronavirus compulsory for all restaurant employees delivering food across the capital. According to a notification, only those employees who test negative for the virus will be allowed to deliver or prepare delivery items. Restaurants and stores have also been instructed to place hand santisers at both their entry and exit points.
YouTube, the world’s biggest online video-sharing platform, will give the Pakistan government $5 million to combat the spreading coronavirus. .In a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki mentioned about the grant to help control the spread of the virus in Pakistan. She said that it is also to compensate people affected due to the pandemic.
The Balochistan government has decided to impose a partial lockdown to fight the novel coronavirus across the province until May 19. The government allowed all shopping malls, markets, stores, outlets, warehouses, depots and auto workshops to remain open from 3pm to 5pm throughout the week. Tandoors, grocery stores, medical stores and blood banks can remain open for 24 hours, whereas restaurants are only allowed to resume delivery and takeaway services.
The Sindh government has decided to build an infectious diseases hospital in Karachi, Chief Minister’s Adviser Murtaza Wahab announced on Twitter. In a video message, the minister said that the government is working on building a 400-bed hospital which will soon be opened for the public. Wahab said that patients with multiple infectious diseases will be treated here.
Punjab health authorities have sealed a PCR diagnostic laboratory in Bahria Town Phase 8 in Rawalpindi for hiding a number of positive coronavirus cases. The lab was established illegally without approval of the Punjab Healthcare Commission and was found to be violating the standard operational procedures (SOPs) announced by the provincial government.
Pakistan has decided to lift its coronavirus lockdown on May 9 (Saturday), announced PM Imran Khan on Thursday. He said that the decision is taken as many people are facing difficulties and a developing country like Pakistan cannot afford it. The premier requested the nation to follow the SOPs put in place by the government. Public transport will be opened too.