Asad warns strict actions against SOPs violators

By Uzma Zafar

Islamabad: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Friday said that after reports of potential spread of COVID-19 through indoor restaurants and marriage halls, the National Command Operation Center (NCOC) had asked all the provinces and federating units to launch a crackdown against violation of Standard Operative Procedures (SOPs).While, Six marriage halls and 103 restaurants have been sealed in Karachi for failing to comply with health guidelines and Covid-19 prevalence, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said on Friday.
In a statement, the body said all provinces as well as Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad Capital Territory have been instructed to ensure the implementation of health guidelines and protocols for public health and safety.
Authorities have also been urged to crackdown on violations “particularly in restaurants and marriage halls as these two places are emerging as epicentres of the disease”, the statement said.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar urged citizens to exercise responsibility to prevent putting people’s lives at risk. “Indoor restaurants and marriage halls are emerging as high contributors to Covid spread.
NCOC has directed all provinces and federating units to crack down on standard operating procedure (SOP) violations in these places,” he said on Twitter. “We must not allow the irresponsible behaviour of some to put the health of everyone at risk,” he said.
Karachi over the last week has witnessed an increase in infections; on September 30, an NCOC meeting was apprised of the worrying rise in the number of daily Covid-19 cases reported across the country, especially in the port city. A day earlier, the Sindh government extended a ‘mini smart lockdown’ to more neighbourhoods in Karachi as the number of coronavirus cases continued to increase. Further, an advisory issued by the health department recommended restricted movement in the affected parts of the metropolis. Two localities of district South were identified as ‘fresh hotspots’ and were placed under a ‘mini smart lockdown’ for a fortnight.
The deputy commissioner South issued a notification placing block ‘A’ of the Creek Vista Apartment in Phase VIII of DHA and sub-division of Saddar under lockdown from October 1 to 15. The notification asked local authorities to seal these localities and arrange logistic support for this purpose. They were also asked to work in close coordination with the district health officer in Karachi South and law enforcement agencies, including police and Rangers.
“The assistant commissioner is further directed to make an implementation plan and enforce the above order in letter and spirit and penalise the violators of SOP guidelines,” read the notification.
The notification also carried details of SOPs to be enforced in the areas that advise anyone entering or leaving the locked down areas to wear a face mask. Movement of people residing in the locked down areas be strictly restricted, it added.
The notification further said that only grocery shops, convenience stores and pharmacies would be allowed to remain open in these areas during the timings specified in the home department’s order while all other businesses would remain strictly closed without any exception.
“All kinds of industrial units falling in the area shall remain closed. No home delivery/take away of any sort will be allowed from restaurants, fast food joints.
Only one person of each household shall be allowed outside for buying food items and medicines by displaying their original CNIC to law enforcement agencies. Only one attendant, where extremely necessary, shall be allowed with a person in need of medical care,” added the advisory.
On Wednesday, the provincial government had imposed a ‘mini smart lockdown’ in two localities of Manghopir in district West, whose deputy commissioner had issued a notification placing Saima Villas and Samama City under lockdown from October 1 to 15.