Peshawar shopkeepers Pakistan
Shopkeepers stand outside their shops that were closed by authorities to help to control the spread of the coronavirus, in Peshawar on June 29, 2020. Now, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has decided to shut down all business centers, wedding halls, restaurants and shopping malls by 10pm in cities from today in the wake of second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has slapped a ban on all commercial activities after 10pm in eleven cities most adversely hit by the coronavirus.

According to the NCOC, 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases have been reported from these cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar and Quetta.

After the NCOC decision, markets, shopping malls, marriage halls and restaurants were closed at 10pm there today. Besides, the NCOC also directed closure of amusement/public parks in these cities at 6pm daily.

Highest ratio of COVID-19 in 70 days

Chairman of the NCOC and Minister for Planning Asad Umar in a tweet warned that the national COVID-19 positivity ratio was higher than 3 per cent and this is happening after more than 70 days.

“NCOC has tightened restrictions on some high risk public activities. However, the rising spread of the disease can only be controlled if people believe in the need for precautions,” said Asad Umar in his tweet.

Rs 35,000 fine, 6-month imprisonment for not wearing masks

According to the NCOC, wearing of mask has been made mandatory in the country and violators will have to pay a maximum Rs35,000 (Dh 800) starting from Rs6,000 (Dh 137) fine along with 6-month jail term.

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.

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 after the NCOC meeting.

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.

Shops sealed, fine imposed

Following the NCOC guidelines, the Punjab government’s health department sealed 35 shops and five restaurants for flouting Covid-19 SOPs in various parts of Lahore.

According to details, 11 shops Model Town, 20 in Raiwind, while four in Cantonment area were sealed. Five restaurants were also sealed over SOPs’ violation.

Sealing notices were also affixed on the premises shut down by the administration.

16 deaths in 24 hours

Pakistan on Thursday reported 16 deaths (2% casualty rate) in last twenty-four hours due to coronavirus. The total number of fatalities caused due to Covid-19 stands at 6,775. Besides, 908 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the last 24 hours taking the tally to 331,108. The number of active cases of coronavirus has also gone up in the country, 11,695 to be exact.