RAWALPINDI                 -            Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on Monday announced that the passenger train operations will remain suspended in the country due to rising tally of coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a presser, Sheikh Rasheed said that initially it was decided to resume the operations from April 1, however, the prime minister ordered against it and now they remain suspended till further orders.

“However, the freight train operations will continue as usual in order to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities across the country,” he said.

The railway minister announced that they had made arrangements for quarantine centres at 570 railway stations and Allah Almighty willing Pakistan would successfully fight out the virus.

Seven railway hospitals will also be dedicated for treating coronavirus patients, he said adding that a 50-bed quarantine would be established at a train while a railway hospital having capacity to accommodate 450 patients will also treat the virus patients in Rawalpindi.

The federal minister said that the cabinet meeting on Tuesday (tomorrow) would make key decisions including provision of funds for ration through Ehsas programme.The minister while responding to a query rejected any chance of curfew imposition in the country and said the masses should adopt preventive measures on their own.“Next 15 days are important for controlling the virus,” he said adding that the situation in Pakistan is far better than Italy or United States.

It is pertinent to mention here that on March 24, Pakistan Railways announced the closure of all passenger trains across the country till March 31 in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The railway authorities has said that those who booked their advance tickets from the reservation counters should contact the ministry for refund.