No commercial activities in 11 virus-hit cities after 10pm

Published October 29, 2020
In this file photo from May, women shop at a market after the government eased the lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File
In this file photo from May, women shop at a market after the government eased the lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the coronavirus in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Opera­tion Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 on Wednesday announ­ced schedule for commercial and social activities in 11 cities which are most vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus.

Since 80 per cent Covid-19 cases are being reported in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar and Quetta, commercial activities — markets, shopping malls, marriage halls and restaurants — will be closed at 10pm and amusement/public parks at 6pm daily from Thursday (today).

Wearing of mask is mandatory at public places and a fine of Rs6,000 to Rs35,000 and punishment of six-month imprisonment will be slapped on the violators. A notification in this regard will be published in the Gazette of Pakistan on Thursday, but it will come into effect after Eid Milad-un-Nabi.

NCOC says parks to be closed at 6pm; heavy fine, six-month imprisonment to be slapped on violators; 80pc Covid-19 cases reported in major cities

“All the parameters i.e. positivity of tests, mortality rate, admissions in hospitals, etc, are increasing. Though there is no exponential increase in cases, I believe that the time has come to take steps to control the virus, otherwise things can become worse,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said while talking to Dawn.

He said the message was that Pakistan should not lose the war won against the virus. “We are taking provinces onboard and I have reached Lahore to talk to the Punjab government. Similarly, other provinces will also be taken onboard,” he added.

When asked about the heavy fine which most of the common people may not be able to pay, Dr Sultan said it was necessary to ensure that everyone wears mask and the NCOC would go to any extent to save the masses from the deadly virus.

According to a statement issued by the NCOC, strict enforcement of compulsory mask wearing in confined spaces (indoors, public transport, outdoor crowded settings like markets and bus stands, railway stations, etc) will be ensured.

Commercial activities will not be allowed after 10pm, but essential services — medical stores, clinics, hospitals, etc — will remain open. Moreover, broad-based smart lockdowns in hotspots are also under consideration.

“Wearing of face mask is must in all offices, both public and private sectors. NCOC has directed provinces to ensure compliance with mask wearing SOPs, particularly in bazaars, shopping malls, public transport and restaurants. Eighty per cent disease spread and increase in positivity ratio [has been reported] in 11 major cities across Pakistan. At present 4,374 lockdowns are imposed, with 30,610 population under lockdown,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad district administration has declared the wearing of mask mandatory at public places by imposing Section 144 under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898. “The order has come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force for a period of two months. In case of violation, strict action will be taken against the violators,” the notification states.

Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat, while talking to Dawn, said that as per rules a fine of Rs6,000 to Rs35,000 can be imposed on the violators.

“Moreover, there is also a provision of up to six-month imprisonment but in 99pc cases, only fines are imposed and in the remaining 1pc cases, the violators are sent to jail for one day,” he added.

Mr Shafqat appealed to the masses to wear mask in their own interest as it would save them and their loved ones from the deadly virus.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020

Opinion

Educating merged districts
Updated 12 Apr 2021

Educating merged districts

The seven merged districts of KP, with a combined population of over five million, do not have a single university.
Greater visibility
12 Apr 2021

Greater visibility

It is not surprising that the custodians of patriarchy are fearful.
Rethinking executions
11 Apr 2021

Rethinking executions

One convict’s fight to escape the gallows exposes the deep flaws in our criminal justice system.

Editorial

Pakistan-India peace
Updated 12 Apr 2021

Pakistan-India peace

Experts note that everything — including Kashmir — can be resolved if there is a will in both capitals.
12 Apr 2021

Child abuse

IN its annual report, the NGO Sahil found that there has been a 4pc increase in documented cases of major crimes...
12 Apr 2021

New tax chief’s task

THE FBR got a new chairman on Friday. Asim Ahmed, a senior IRS officer who was serving as the Board’s IT member...
11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...