Imran calls in army to enforce SOPs as Covid-19 cases surge

Imran calls in army to enforce SOPs as Covid-19 cases surge

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday directed Army to assist the police and law enforcement agencies in enforcing SOPs for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, warning that Pakistan may soon be facing a situation similar to India if the current trend continues.

Addressing the nation after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee, he said: "I am appealing to you to follow SOPs so that we don't have to take steps that India is taking which means imposing lockdowns. Half the problem is solved when you wear face masks."

New SOPs announced by the NCOC:

  • Schools in districts with over 5pc positivity rate closed till Eid
  • Markets to be closed at 6pm
  • Indoor and outdoor dining banned till Eid; only takeaway and delivery to be allowed
  • Office timings limited to 2pm
  • 50pc of staff to be allowed in offices

"If our circumstances become the same as India, then we will have to close down cities. We can't do that because, as experience has shown, the poor suffer the most when lockdowns are imposed," the prime minister said.

"People are telling me to impose a lockdown today, but we are not going to do so because, and I keep repeating this, daily wagers and labourers will suffer the most."

That is why we have not taken action, he said, adding that however long this lasts will depend on the people. The premier called on the nation to start observing precautionary measures, in the same way which you did the previous year during Ramazan.

"Pakistan was the only country which had kept mosques open last year during Ramazan. I was proud of the way our religious scholars and imams informed the people about precautionary measures," he said.