People not wearing masks, violating social distancing rules to face action

By: News Desk      Published: 12:31 AM, 5 Jun, 2020
People not wearing masks, violating social distancing rules to face action
Shoppers at a Pakistani market show complete disregard for coronavirus safety and social distancing rules.–File photo

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), at a meeting with the provinces on Thursday, focused on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safety against coronavirus, compliance, administrative actions being taken by the provinces and enforcement of various strands of the Track, Trace and Quarantine (TTQ) Strategy.

Asad Umer, federal minister for planning, development and special initiatives, chaired the meeting. Chief secretaries of the provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) informed the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) that strict administrative action had been taken against violators of the SOPs and social distancing rules at public places and high risk areas of markets, public transport and industrial sectors. The minister discussed implementation of SOPs and safety and quarantine guidelines to avoid spread of coronavirus with the provincial chief secretaries.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad said the heart of the strategy to contain the risk of the contagion was to ensure SOPs compliance and enforcement of quarantine measures. He said that all measures should be implemented swiftly to make the anti-coronavirus strategy a success.

The Punjab chief secretary told the forum that strict SOPs and social distancing rules would be ensured and entire market, business centre or plaza would be sealed on violation of these rules. He said that a fine of Rs650,000 was imposed on the transport sector over violation of SOPs. People not wearing face masks at public places and high risk areas will also be fined.

The Sindh chief secretary informed the forum that business centres, bazaars and markets violating the SOPs and safety guidelines were issued strict warnings.

The chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mentioned that public compliance of SOPs and safety measures was not satisfactory rather careless attitude was witnessed. He said that decisions made at the NCC meetings on June 1, 2 and 3 had been sent to the provincial administration for implementation. In this context, two markets were sealed over violation of safety protocols. “Around 25,000 ‘no mask, no service’ banners and slings had been displayed across the province to educate the masses about the importance of masks,” he said.

The chief secretary of Balochistan informed the forum that keeping in view the increasing number of virus positive cases after opening of shops, the provincial administration has prepared a comprehensive plan to initiate stringent action over violation of SOPs and safety measures.

The chief secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan said the smart lockdown strategy was implemented earlier and it helped control spread of the disease. “A fine of Rs100 is being imposed on people not wearing masks at public places and three face masks are provided to volunteers on spot to follow the safety protocol. People have generally welcomed the initiative,” he said.

The AJK chief secretary told the forum that public transport was restored in the valley with SOPs whereas effective contact tracing was being carried out to find patients and their close contacts. Community mobilisation and RSPN are also contributing effectively.