LAHORE - In view of increasing cases of coronavirus in Punjab, the government has decided to take immediate action against shops and markets ignoring Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

On Thursday, districts administrations in six big cities of Punjab closed markets and shopping malls on violations of SOPs.

Local administrations have been directed to launch crackdown against violators in the cities of Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Gujarat from today (Friday) to ensure maximum implementation.

Similarly, shops and markets ignoring SOPs should also be closed while local administration and traffic police should take joint action against the passengers of vehicles and motorbikes not wearing masks.

These decisions were taken at a high level meeting of the Punjab Cabinet Committee on Corona chaired by Senior Punjab Minister Abdul Aleem Khan.

The meeting held at the Chief Minister’s House was attended by Provincial Ministers for Law, Health, Industry and Information Raja Muhammad Basharat, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chauhan, while Chief Secretary and IG Punjab also attended and presented the current situation of coronavirus in the province, which came under discussion and a number of decisions were taken accordingly.

Addressing the meeting, Abdul Aleem Khan said that the increase in corona cases in Punjab was a great concern of the government and every citizen has to take a responsible attitude in this regard.

He said that implementation of SOPs for prevention of corona was the equal responsibility of every person otherwise the government will be compelled to take strict measures.

He said that the immediate message of strict implementation of these security measures must reach to the common man, so that the sensitivity of the issue can be assessed.

Aleem said that even in the case of transport care-free attitude is being observed, however, after a significant reduction in petrol prices there should be no harm to transporters in complying with SOPs and leaving one seat vacant.

He said that there was a dire need to comply with the corona SOPs in major cities for which all the concerned agencies would have to take joint action.

Aslam Iqbal said that it should be the responsibility of shopkeepers to provide masks to their customers.

He also said that wearing of masks could be declared mandatory after sufficient availability of masks in the markets.

It was also decided in the meeting that the matter of corona tests of passengers at the airport, the National Command and Operational Center should be consulted again.

Aleem said that this was a very serious matter and we have to consider every aspect to prevent the citizens of Punjab from corona.

In the meeting of the Cabinet Committee, the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, IG, Commissioner and Secretary Health Punjab while briefing about their respective departments told that 39 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours while 36 patients of corona are in critical condition.

It was also informed that an effective media campaign has been launched for the awareness of the common man to ensure maximum security measures in the province of Punjab.