Govt to get tough on violators of Covid-19 SOPs, warns PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said having witnessed the people ignoring the anti-coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs), the government will get tough on the violators and they will be even ‘locked up’. “So far we had not been much strict. But now will show inflexibility. We will take action through administration and the violators will have to face the music,” he warned the people in a televised address to the nation after chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the Covid-19 situation. The prime minister said he will personally monitor the implementation of the SOPs and receive data from across the country. He said the district administrations as well as the Corona Relief Tiger Force will observe and report the status of SOPs’ implementation at shops, shopping malls, mosques, katcheries (courts) and public transport. He said all the workplaces or localities will be closed down if found spreading the deadly virus risking the people’s lives. “I have reports from Punjab and Sindh about adherence to SOPs. I know about mosques, courts, public offices, parks, industries, shopping malls, shops, local transport and inter-city travel and private transport. I will get a daily report,” he said, issuing a stark warning to those flouting the rules. The premier said he will take action based on this report. Addressing managers and owners of businesses and transport, he said,”Whomever is found not abiding by the SOPs will be shut down – shops, malls, factories and even neighbourhoods found violating the rules will be cordoned off.” He said the Tiger Force will assist the administration to ensure implementation of SOPs. “The government was not dealing with it as strictly before because we were gathering data,” he said. “But now I will ensure the full force of the law with my administration’s assistance.” He regretted people were demonstrating a very lackadaisical attitude. People say we have not seen any corona. We do not know of anyone dying from corona,” he said, quoting such people. He said this is a ‘very dangerous mindset’. “Coronavirus cases will only increase and the peak is next month,” he added. The premier said it is a national duty to abide by the safety rules, with a view to saving lives and he is placing his stock in people to follow SOPs. He also spoke at great length about India where a complete curfew was imposed and how the economy is now reeling from the after-effects. “Today a survey has been released by experts of University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and an organisation CMI which has been monitoring the Indian economy,” said the premier. He said that owing to a sudden sweeping curfew there, the survey has revealed that 84% households were impacted. “But that is not the worst of it all. 34% households today are in a state where if they are not helped out, they will not be able to sustain themselves after two more weeks,” the premier said. Around 30 million people aged 20-30 have been rendered jobless, he said, quoting the survey. “However, the elite remained unaffected. A thing I have been saying since day one. I was saying since day one. We need to think of the slum dwellers, the poorest among us,” he said.

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