Markets that are non-compliant of SOPs will be closed: NCOC

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday warned the traders and shop owners that non-compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) would result in the closure of markets.

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The NCOC meeting, presided by Minister for Planning Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, maintained that the implementation of SOPs and social distancing was only possible through public education and awareness.

The forum also emphasised that markets associations and traders must ensure compliance of the SOPs issued by the health ministry otherwise markets would be closed.

The warning from the top governing body came after it was observed that the safety guidelines are not being followed across the country.

In this regard, Minister for Industries Punjab Mian Aslam Iqbal informed the participants that around 336 warning notices were issued to different markets and industries on the violation of the SOPs whereas on repeated violations these would be sealed as per the decided mechanism.

Minister for Interior Brig (R) Ejaz Ahmed Shah suggested that the district administration should engage with the trader associations and local stakeholders for the implementation of the SOPs.

The provincial chief secretaries and officials from Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir also gave their input on the implementation of health protocols and the SOPs after an ease in the lockdown restrictions.

Highest no of tests

The meeting was also informed that in the past 24 hours, over 14,878 coronavirus tests were conducted in the country, which is the highest number since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Pakistan.

Highlighting the achievement, Asad Umar said: “Pakistan has been quick in enhancing its capacity and capability in every policy strand whether health management system, emergency health care equipment, raising structure like NCC and NCOC, channelising resources and tapping efficient human resource and most importantly formulating SOPs and their implementation.”

“Where there is a will there is a way,” the minister said, adding “the people of Pakistan can’t be left on the mercy of pandemic.”

The minister further said that there was no shortage of equipment in the country rather it was necessary to focus on managing trained human resource for handling the pandemic.

Virus behaviour

In addition, the epidemiologist and other health experts briefed the committee on virus behaviour during the next few months and the risk management plans and matching response of the healthcare system’s capacity.

Mentioning that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash relief was going to recommence on Monday, the meeting also underscored that around Rs104 billion were distributed among 8 million beneficiaries through Ehsaas Emergency Cash Relief Program.

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