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June 20, 2020

Smart lockdown remains patchy on second day of enforcement in affected areas

Karachi

June 20, 2020

On the second day of the smart lockdown on Friday, the markets in the areas marked as novel coronavirus hotspots remained opened, while public transport, including rickshaws and taxis, remained functional.

However, by 9pm the police sprang into action and closed a few shops. As per the Sindh Home Department’s notification, the markets of the city are supposed to be closed by 7pm. However, until late in the night not only the markets and restaurants stayed open, but a few tea kiosks and eateries were having dine-in facilities as well.

In District South, the UC Karachi Cantonment’s Bizerta Line and Doli Khata; UC Kharadar-3’s Lea Market; UC Saddar-8’s Burnes Road; MA Jinnah Road; main Saddar; Urdu Bazaar; UC Phase-VI’s Khayaban-e-Badar and Muhafiz; and UC Lyari’s Agra Taj 2 and Bihar Colony are under the smart lockdown areas.

According to a resident, Fasih Rajput, all the markets in Lea Market, Kharadar’s Sarafa Market, Agra Taj, Bihar Colony remained open till late in the night. Talking to The News, he said that even the public transport kept operating in these areas.

District East has the most areas which have been put under the smart lockdown. However, markets and public transport remained operational in these areas, while a few of the streets where a large number of cases have been reported were barricaded by tents by law enforcement agencies.

A social activist of UC-3 in the District Malir’s Muzafarabad area, Niaz Ahmed, said that throughout the day, shops and public transport remained operational in the smartly locked down areas. After 7pm, he said, shops on main roads were closed; however, tea kiosks and fast food joints in inner streets remained open till late at night.

The Karachi commissioner, Iftikhar Shallwani talking to The News, appealed to the citizens to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies. He requested the media to make people aware about the virus so that they could follow the stand operating procedures (SOPs) in letter and spirit.

On Friday, he said, the law enforcement agencies strictly enforced the lockdown in the hotspot areas. As for the shops and tea kiosks operational after 7pm, he said, if any shop or eatery was open after 7pm, the district administration would take strict action against them.

According to the SOPs issued by the commissioner office, anyone entering or exiting the area under the smart lockdown has to wear a mask without any exception. The movement of people residing in such areas will be strictly restricted.

The SOPs only allow grocery shops, convenience stores and pharmacies to remain open in these areas during specific timings allowed by the provincial government. “All the other business activities will strictly remain closed without any exception. All industrial units falling in these areas will remain closed.”

Home deliveries and takeaways from restaurants and fast food joints is also forbidden in the affected areas. Only one person of every household will be allowed outside to buy food items and medicines by displaying their original CNIC to the law enforcers on duty. “Only one attendant, where extremely necessary, will be allowed with a person in need of medical care.”

Private or family get-togethers are strictly forbidden in homes, and residents need to have a valid reason for going out of their homes. “Pillion riding will be strictly banned in these areas.”

All public transport, including rickshaws, taxis and ride-hailing services, are banned from plying in these areas. The government, according to the notification, will make every effort to provide rations to the needy residing in these areas through philanthropic organisations and by employing its own resources. The government will also make efforts to provide mobile dispensaries and mobile utility stores in these hotspots.