Authorities have sealed major markets in Karachi over violations of the standard operating procedure (SOPs) provided to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The action was taken in view of concerns expressed by both the Federal and Sindh governments after thousands of people thronged bazaars across the country.
Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shallwani, issued the directive to seal major markets and shopping centers in Saddar and other downtown areas where people were exposed to a much greater risk of infection.
Police followed orders by shutting down Zainab Market, Victoria Market, Madina City, and International Market in Saddar, and Gul Plaza and Al-Haram Centre in Garden and Jillani Centre in Arambagh. Three more stores were also sealed in the East district.
The police sealed entry and exit points of these markets and tough surveillance was practiced.
Commenting on the development, Commissioner Karachi said that these shops have been sealed as they failed to implement the SOPs despite warnings.
Meanwhile, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman, Atiq Mir, said that the shopkeepers let down their efforts to reopen businesses by not following the guidelines given by authorities.
We managed to convince the government to let the shops reopen after a great deal of effort and now the shopkeepers have let us down.
According to the district administration, the shops will only be allowed to reopen after a written assurance of the implementation of SOPs from market officials.
Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has signed the Sindh Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which prescribes strict penalties for violations of COVID-19 SOPs, including a fine of up to Rs. 1 million for causing the virus to spread.