The capital administration of Islamabad has sealed two commercial centres, 22 industrial units, and more than 100 stores for violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Administration officials were sent out to monitor SOP implementation after a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases reported in the city.
The Covid-19 respiratory disease is caused by the coronavirus.
Deputy Commissioner Mohamed Hamza Shafqaat, assistant commissioners, and magistrates went out separately to check various localities.
Shafqaat observed violations in Bhara Kahu Market on Athal Chowk and New Aabpara Market, both of which were sealed, officials said.
He confirmed his visit to Bhara Kahu Market and New Aabpara Market and said that he saw massive SOP violations.
Shafqaat said that people were seen visiting shops without wearing masks or gloves, and were not practising social distancing.
The drivers of public and private vehicles also violated SOPs, he said.
The Rural assistant commissioner sealed 17 shops in P.W.D. Market, Lohi Bher Market, and Sihala Bazaar, and 13 people were fined for violating SOPs, while the Industrial Area assistant commissioner sealed five commercial entities in Karachi Company and I-8 Markaz.
The Secretariat assistant commissioner checked the Bari Imam area and sealed more than a dozen shops, as well as three fuel stations.
A survey of markets conducted by the administration and police revealed that most of the markets in Bari Imam and near Quaid-i-Azam University were open and the vast majority of people were not taking precautions to avoid contracting the coronavirus, such as wearing masks and gloves.
SOPs are not being implemented at the Bari Imam shrine, which was opened to the public, and people are not practising social distancing.
In Industrial Area, fruit and vegetable vendors and cart vendors selling grocery items in Sangam Market in I-8/3 are not implementing SOPs either, officials said, adding that this is a very dangerous situation that will result in the coronavirus spreading even further.
A survey of kiosks and roadside outlets in the Sabzi Mandi area, I-10 Markaz and automobile markets in I-10/3 revealed that there was no implementation of SOPs.
No one is wearing masks or gloves or using hand sanitiser to protect themselves.
The same was observed in markets in the Koral area.
Officials said that most of the capital’s commercial centres and markets were opened because of the government’s decision, but none of these centres or shops abided by the timing restrictions.
Many stayed open past 7pm, many until late into the night.
Most commercial centres, markazes, markets and shops have not made any arrangements for social distancing either, and many people have been found in these areas ignoring SOPs.
Senior administration and police officers have been approached with requests to implement SOPs strictly, they said, as the situation is worsening day by day amid concerns that it would spiral out of control.
With at least 2,435 Covid-19 cases reported in Rawalpindi and 105 dead, the district administration has made it mandatory for shopkeepers and customers to wear masks and sealed 97 shops, imposed Rs225,000 in fines and arrested 18 people for violating SOPs.
“All the traders associations in the district were informed of the SOPs before markets were opened, and they were asked to use masks, gloves and hand sanitiser and to ensure that customers also take these measures,” Deputy Commissioner Captain (retired) Anwarul Haq told the media.
He said the district administration is working to implement SOPs and no negligence would be tolerated in this regard.
Monitoring teams are visiting markets daily.
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