Pakistani govt warns of another lockdown if people don’t follow post-lockdown rules

Supporters of religious and political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) chant slogans as they ride on a bike with flags of the party and Azad Kashmir, during the so called Azadi March (Freedom March), called by the opposition to protest against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, Pakistan 11 November 2019. (Photo:Reuters/Akhtar Soomro). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

ISLAMABAD, Jun 4, 2020, Pakistan Today. The federal government on Wednesday said that it would impose another lockdown if the people did not follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for protection from coronavirus, Pakistan Today reported.

Addressing a press conference, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz expressed disappointment at the way people ignored protective measures after the government eased restrictions, and once again urged them to follow the SOPs to curb rising Covid-19 cases, because failure to do some would prompt the government to reimpose a lockdown.

The minister said that the government eased the restrictions to provide livelihood opportunities to the weaker segments of the society. He said that the government also launched the social welfare initiatives like Ehsaas to facilitate the disadvantaged segments of the society.

Talking about the government’s strategy, he said that they were pursuing a very well organised and coordinated strategy to curb the spread of the contagion. “This is the reason why the coronavirus cases are less than our estimates,” he said.

Faraz said that the relevant departments are working in close coordination to address the issue of locusts. He said that a well thought out strategy like the government’s Covid-19 strategy is being followed to make the fight against the crop munching pests successful.

Alluding to the political situation of the country, the minister dispelled the impression of victimisation of political opponents. He made it clear that the accountability process would go ahead as the future belongs to parties who believe in public service.

The minister said that action would be taken against mafias who held the national economy hostage for their own vested interests.

Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib, in his remarks, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has exposed the ‘mafia’ and the money plundered by the corrupt elements would be recovered and spent on the poor people.

Earlier, Minister for Planning Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the government would not tolerate violation of the SOPs that were placed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Chairing the meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the minister discussed the compliance of SOPs in detail with the provincial chief secretaries. He said there should be a clear message conveyed to the masses that the government would “ensure social distancing and compliance of safety guidelines in public places and high-risk areas” at all costs.

“The National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting minutes have been approved with the emphasis on ensuring voluntary compliance of SOPs and strict administrative action against violators. The NCC is fully supporting the provinces to ensure strict compliance of safety guidelines,” he added.

Asad said the traders association were responsible to ensure compliance of SOPs which were being violated in the markets and increasing the risk of the outbreak. “An effective media campaign is also going to be launched across the country to create education and awareness among the masses for voluntary compliance of SOPs.”

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