KARACHI: A government decision to enforce a Rs500 fine for not wearing a face masks in public places has failed to have any impact as only 54 individuals have been penalised for breaching the notified standard operating procedures (SOPs) in more than two weeks by municipal and district administration officials, leading them to believe that the move is impracticable and almost impossible to fetch
In view of the rise in Covid-19 cases during the second outbreak of the country’s coronavirus pandemic, the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) released new rules earlier this month prohibiting indoor weddings, fixing a fine for not wearing masks and authorising 50 percent of public and private institutional workers to ‘act from home’.
Authorities have imposed fines on only 54 people across Karachi over two-week period
Later, the administration was ordered by Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Ali Shallwani to take stern action against those found not wearing masks in public places and impose a Rs500 fine on them for breaching the SOPs.
The decision to levy such a heavy fine was a surprise for many, too in Karachi alone. However for persons who largely disregard the advice of health professionals and leaders, it has struggled to act as a deterrent.
Figures have demonstrated that the municipal administration itself has not been able to make it obligatory to wear masks in public areas.
“Following the launch of the campaign, only 54 individuals across Karachi were fined,” said an official at the commissioner’s office. “Of the 54, 26 were fined in the Central District, 15 in Malir and 13 in the South.”
He said that the NCOC had requested the provinces, under their own modus operandi, to enforce its new guidelines. Taking into account the troubling situation in the province of Covid-19, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah called for the full enforcement of SOPs in all industry, social, religious, educational and other institutions and ordered the authorities concerned to take strict action in the event of non-compliance.
That same evening, he said the commissioner’s office declared that it would enforce a fine of Rs500 for not wearing masks. The fines were levied in District Central the very next day and people without masks were spotted and penalised by random mobile district administration teams, he said.