Sunday Apr 25, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army was mobilised to enforce coronavirus safety protocols in the federal capital and Peshawar on Saturday after Prime Minister Imran Khan sought its help in curbing the spread of the virus in the country.
Officials of the Islamabad administration visited various areas in the city on Friday with army personnel in tow to enforce the implementation of coronavirus protocols.
Assistant Commissioner Rana Musa Tahir visited different commercial areas with an army and police escort and took action against violators.
The district administration, in a statement, said 1,997 inspections were carried out on Friday, while 28 shops and one restaurant were sealed for violating coronavirus SOPs.
Nine people were arrested for hoarding and violation of SOPs, the administration said, adding that fines worth Rs226,000 were imposed for not abiding by safety protocols.
The army and district administration officials also inspected 85 mosques, said the statement.
Assistant Commissioner Dr Ehtisham-ul-Haq said the district administration along with the Pakistan Army has been taking action against violation of safety protocols and that so far 200 people had been arrested.
The assistant commissioner appealed to the people to follow safety measures as the third wave of the pandemic has intensified. "Citizens are persistently defying coronavirus SOPs," he said.
"People should follow SOPs otherwise our situation will turn into the one prevailing in the neighbouring country (India)," he added.
The development came after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government penned a letter to the federal government seeking the army's assistance in implementing SOPs.
"The provincial government is taking effective measures against coronavirus," the letter said, adding that despite the efforts, the positivity ratios in big cities are on the rise.
The letter said the National Command and Operations Centre had called for more effective measures to be taken, and therefore, the provincial government seeks the army's help.
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said he has directed the military — as well as police and Rangers — to help ensure that SOPs regarding COVID-19 are being strictly implemented and followed.
In a televised address after chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) over COVID-19, the prime minister had urged the masses to adopt preventive measures against coronavirus so that the situation remains under control and a lockdown of big cities is avoided.
“We have been instructing the people to follow SOPs but they neither have fear nor are cautious. Therefore, the pandemic is spreading rapidly,” he had said.
“If you simply keep following SOPs and wearing masks from now on till Eid, then we will not have to take the extreme step of locking down cities, which India is unfortunately doing now,” he had added.
Pakistan on Saturday reported 157 deaths due to COVID-19, making it the country's highest single-day death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began last year.
Previously, the highest death toll reported by the country was 153 on June 20th of last year.
The new deaths have taken the country's death tally to 16,999. The most deaths in the country were reported in Punjab, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the last 24 hours
Meanwhile, Pakistan's national positivity ratio also shot up to 11.27% on Saturday.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data showed that 52,402 tests were conducted in Pakistan in the last 24 hours, out of which 5,908 returned positive.
The new cases have taken the national tally of positive cases to 790,016, with 285,542 reported in Punjab, 276,670 in Sindh, 112,140 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 72,613 in Islamabad, 21,477 in Balochistan, 16,327 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 5,247 in Gilgit-Baltistan.