PESHAWAR              -         After three weeks of complete lock­down, authorities on Thursday de-sealed Manga union council, the area that reported Pakistan’s fist death from coronavirus.

The union council of Manga, com­prising dozens of villages and a pop­ulation of over 55,000, hit headlines after one Saadat Khan was tested pos­itive for coronavirus after he had been greeted by a large number of his neigh­bours and relatives on his return from Umrah.

The village was sealed with deploy­ment of around 250 policemen and lat­er army personnel were also called in a week after the corona cases was de­tected. Several policemen also con­tracted the virus after performing du­ties in one of the top corona-famed areas of the country.

Recounting the problems soon after the detection of coronavirus on dozens of villages and a population of around 55,000, District Police Officer Sajjad Khan said that in the beginning, the lo­cals resisted being quarantined.

“Initially, villagers were not agree­ing on quarantine. Later when the res­idents themselves realized the gravity of the situation and agreed to stay in their houses, the problem of food stuff emerged. They would come out of their houses to protest and around 250 cops deployed in the union council would be patrolling in the area all the time, grap­pling with the residents to keep them indoors,” the district police chief told The Nation.

However, he said that they had to ar­range food supplies from the police lines to cops so they continue keeping people quarantined in their homes.

Manga union council was de-sealed (yesterday) Thursday and the police force was removed from the area, ex­cept a few houses where some posi­tive cases exist. Out of 250 policemen deputed in Manga, only 25 cops were left in the area and the rest of all were withdrawn.

“Policemen at Manga performed du­ties in three shifts. Some officers per­forming duty there contracted the vi­rus and were home-quarantined. However, I am satisfied that the police didn’t get panicked and continued with their duty for the last three weeks with patience,” Sajjad Khan added.

He also said that during the emergen­cy, the police prepared own personal protective equipment including surgi­cal gowns at the police lines, and scan­ning system was put in place at police lines so all the cops entering the prem­ises were screened at the main gate.

“Apart from the lockdown Manga council on March 19, the police also locked down the entire district on March 31 and started shifting coro­na patients and suspects from across Mardan to hospitals, which was anoth­er challenge,” he added.

Former Mardan district council member from the area, Tahir Mangah, told The Nation that the de-sealing would now enable the locals to go for their jobs and earn livelihood for the families.

“Most of the local people are labour­ers and it is good for all of them that with their cooperation and authorities concerned, the corona cases reduced and situation has normalized to a great extent,” he added