1,300 shops in Peshawar sealed

The district administration sealed over 1,300 shops and shopping centers in Peshawar for failing to implement government-mandated health guidelines and SOPs over the past two days.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Ali Asghar, with a contingent of assistant commissioners and other officials, visited different localities in the city on Tuesday, October 13, especially markets where traders and shop owners were found to be flouting SOPs. The Cantonment Commercial Plaza, the New Cantonment Board Plaza, Gora Bazaar, Khaneez Plaza, Makkah Market, Mustafa Market, and Rahman Square Market were ordered closed.

Previously on Monday, October 12, over 400 shops in Hayatabad’s Karkhano Market, including Baha Market, Humayun Plaza, and Shahid Plaza, Humayun Plaza was sealed for SOP violations. Authorities also urged the public to wear face masks and adhere to other precautionary measures for their own safety as well as the safety of others.

The second wave feared in Balochistan

On Monday, October 12, the Balochistan health department alerted provincial authorities that a second coronavirus wave is likely due to SOP violations by the general public and that it may be even more grave than the first wave.

The health department stated that over 600 COVID-19 awareness programs were initiated since the spread of the pandemic in the province, under which about 2,200,000 posters and pamphlets were distributed amongst the masses, 61,000 healthcare workers were provided with pandemic-response training, and 25,000 clerics were taken on board to help illuminate local communities about the contagion.

Special campaigns have been held in many educational institutions in Balochistan to inform students about the precautionary measures they should take to protect themselves. However public apathy towards SOPs remains rampant, causing fears of a rise in the number of positive cases.

NCOC advises against public gatherings

Following consultation with all the provinces, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) has issued guidelines for conducting public gathering following a notable and worrying rise in fresh COVID-19 infection. Such gatherings can potentially become super spreaders and so they should be avoided in order to reduce the spread of the pandemic, the NCOC advised.

Ideally, all public gatherings except those which are related to economic activities should not take place. If holding public gatherings is mandatory, then they should be held while enforcing all the issued precautionary measures.

For indoor gatherings, attendance should be limited to a maximum of 500 people, or 50 percent of the area’s capacity, for a maximum of three house. All attendees should be seated and a minimum of three feet distance between individuals must be ensured. For outdoor gatherings, entry and exit points should be set up and organizers should ensure that all SOPs are enforced. Gatherings and rallies on roads and narrow areas should be avoided.

Universities, schools sealed over cases

On Tuesday, October 13, the district administration sealed the education department of Hazara University in Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after students of the department emerged positive for the novel coronavirus disease. Department students and faculty members were requested to self-isolate while police officers were stationed to limit the number of visitors.

Similarly, in Islamabad, five more educational institutions were sealed after students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during on-campus randomized testing. The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) headquarters were also closed over the detection of cases.