Multan-The citizens completely defied government’s lockdown decision and violated Section 144 throughout the day here on Tuesday.

City roads presented the view of a normal workday as wheel kept rolling throughout the day. Different markets, shopping centres and bazaars remained open and even a bigger customer turnout was observed at general and grocery stores. Venders selling edibles, fruits, vegetables and daily use items roamed city roads as routine. Motorbike and car workshops, mobile phone shops, hardware stores, barber shops and almost all other businesses opened as per their routine timetable.

The country has over 900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven persons have so far died of virus infection. In order to contain Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Punjab government had issued Monday an order for a lockdown in the province starting from Tuesday 9:00 am until April 4. During the lockdown period, except for medicine, fruit, vegetable, milk and grocery shops, all other businesses will remain closed.

The district administration came into action in the evening and the DCO Aamir Khattak along with other administrative officers visited different areas of the city to ensure implementation of lockdown decision. “It was first day of shutdown and we don’t want to spread panic. People should respect the law themselves. If they don’t, we’ll be forced to make arrests,” he issued warning to the defiant people while talking to the media.

He warned that if the people did not act upon the advice given by the government like social distancing and self quarantine, the society will have to face a very tough time. He stressed upon the citizens to stay at their homes and save their lives.

Talking to The Nation during a survey, a labourer Ajmal said that he had no other option but to come out of his house. “If I stay at home I see my kids dying of hunger and if I come out police are there to punish us. Tell me what should I do?” he raised a question. Another labourer Ghulam Hussain said that the government should have given financial support to the poor people, who worked on daily wages, before making the lockdown decision.

A customer at a grocery store said that he wanted to arrange grocery before going into lockdown. “I am collecting all items and articles like edibles and daily use items. I have gone to many stores but I could not find aatta anywhere,” he complained.

When asked whether they did not fear contracting virus, a citizen Allah Bukhsh said that he had strong faith and therefore the virus could not deliver any harm to him. “You can see I am not wearing any mask or gloves. It is because I am not frightened. If the time of my death has come no one can save me but if this time has not come no power on earth can harm me,” he insisted. He was of the opinion that the media propagated fake information and caused panic in the society. “Don’t watch the TV and there will be no virus, no deaths and no fear,” he proposed to others standing there.

Some youths were spotted playing cricket at Qila Qasim Bagh. The cops caught them and punished at the spot. They were released on a promise that they would not violate the Section 144.

The DCO along with Assistant Commissioners and magistrates visited Nawan Shehr, Hussain Agahi, Ghanta Ghar, Daulat Gate, Delhi Gate, Khooni Burj, Bohar Gate, Dera Adda, Azizi Hotel areas and warned the citizens to respect the law.