Police pakistan shopkeepers Karachi
A police officer uses a megaphone to disperse shopkeepers who gathered to reopen their shops at a closed electronics market, as the lockdown continues during the efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Karachi, Pakistan. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in a meeting has expressed concerns over violations of lockdown across the country by people caught apparently in an Eid shopping spree and issued directions to the federal and the provincial governments to enforce lockdown strictly and take action against the violators.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the NCOC jointly chaired by Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative Asad Umar and Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan and attended by all the chief secretaries of the respective administrative units.

The meeting reviewed in detail the mobility control measures being implemented across the country from May 8 to 16.

Violations of lockdown were reported from all parts of the country as people continued to visit markets for Eid shopping and the shopkeepers there also served their orders though stealthily with front shutters of the shops brought down.

Simple Eid

The NCOC has appealed to the people to celebrate Eid this year with simplicity and caution and avoid visiting tourist destinations particularly in the northern areas of Pakistan.

The forum reminded that the tourist areas were closed till May 16 and those still insisting to go there would be refused entry.

The review of the SOPs implementation during May 8-16 was also carried out in the meeting and it was decided during this period all markets, businesses and shops would remain closed except essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies/medical stores, medical facilities and vaccination centres, vegetable, fruit, chicken and meat shops, bakeries, petrol pumps, food takeaways and e-commerce (home delivery), utility services (electricity, natural gas, internet, cellular networks/telecom, call centres) and media, the statement said.

The Rawalpindi police have arrested more than 90 persons for lockdown violations during the last two days registering cases against 54.

According to do police record, 79 people were arrested over lockdown violations on Saturday while 12 were arrested on Sunday.

The arrests were made in different areas of the garrison city including Commercial Market, Satellite Town, Banni Road, Saddar and other areas.

The Regional Police officer has directed all the field officers to enforce the lockdown and take legal action against those who ignored the orders.

Meanwhile, traders and shopkeepers in Lahore have warned of protest in case their shops are closed forcibly by the district administration and the police.

Closed forcibly

All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran General Secretary Naeem Mir said in a video message appealed to the Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to take notice of the ‘high-handedness’ of the government as closing of shops would mean financial collapse of the shopkeepers, businessmen, particularly the low-income traders. We are following all the SOPs for coronavirus and assure the government no violations would be committed during the Eid holidays, said Meer requesting the provincial and the district government to allow them opening of the shops. In case our businesses are closed forcibly we would be left with no option but to come to the roads and protest against this.

Pakistan on Monday reported a decline in single-day deaths as well as the daily tally of new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

According to the National Health Services (NHS) Ministry, 78 persons succumbed to coronavirus while 3,447 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

After 37,756 tests in the country the positivity remained 9.12 per cent while still there are a little over 80,000 active cases in the country, the NHS Ministry’s data further says.