ISLAMABAD - The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has asked the authorities for a strict crackdown against violators of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to prevent spread of coronavirus as COVID-19 related deaths in the country have crossed 1,800.

In a meeting held here on Thursday, the NCOC focused on Standard Operating Procedures compliance, strict administrative actions and enforcement of Track, Trace and Quarantine (TTQ) Strategy. Minister for Planning Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired the NCOC meeting.

The provincial Chief Secretaries and secretaries from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir informed the NCOC that strict administrative action has been initiated against the violators of SOPs regarding social distancing in public places and high-risk areas of markets, public transport and industrial sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar said the main point of the strategy was to contain risk of the contagion and to ensure ‘SOPs Compliance and Enforcement of Quarantine Measures’. He said that all measures should be implemented swiftly to make the strategy a success in overcoming the risk of further spread of Coronavirus.

Punjab Chief Secretary told the meeting that strict SOPs and social distancing would be ensured whereas on violation the entire market, business centre and plaza would be sealed.

He said that around Rs6.5 lac fines were also imposed on the transporters collectively over violation of the SOPs whereas a fine would also be imposed for not wearing a face mask at public places and high-risk areas.

Sindh Chief Secretary informed the forum that business centres, bazaars and markets violating the SOPs and safety guidelines were issued strict warning notices.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Secretary, speaking on the occasion, said that public compliance of SOPs and safety measures was not satisfactory rather careless attitude was witnessed in the province. He said that the decisions taken in NCC meeting on 1st June and NCOC sessions on 2nd and 3rd of June 2020 were sent for implementation to provincial administration.

In this context, he said, markets in various districts including Peshawar were sealed for violating safety protocols.

“Around 25,000 ‘No Masks No Service’ informative banners and slings have been displayed across the province to create awareness among the masses to comply with wearing face masks measure,” he told the forum.

Balochistan Chief Secretary informed the forum that keeping in view the increasing number of coronavirus positive cases after opening of the shops, the provincial administration has prepared a comprehensive plan to initiate stringent action against violation of SOPs and safety measures.

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary apprised the meeting that smart lockdown strategy was implemented earlier that helped in minimizing disease spread. “A fine of Rs100 is being imposed on the person for not wearing face mask at public places and three face masks instead are provided to volunteers on spot to follow the safety protocol. The people have generally welcomed the initiative,” he said.

AJK Chief Secretary briefed the meeting that transport was opened in the valley with SOPs’ compliance whereas effective contact tracing was being carried out to trace affected patients and their close contacts.