Karachi’s shopping areas sealed after authorities find blatant disregard for COVID-19 SOPs

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Karachi police on Wednesday sealed the city’s major markets — including Zainab Market — over the shopkeepers’ failure to adhere to safety protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

After the government announced an ease in restrictions beginning May 9, all major retail outlets and markets had rushed to open stores on Monday.

The past two days have witnessed a flurry of shoppers throwing caution to the wind and rushing to acquire much sought-after goods with Eid fast approaching.

Neither shopkeepers nor customers were seen taking necessary precautions such as wearing masks and using sanitisers frequently. Today, in view of these violations, the city’s police sealed all major markets, much to the chagrin of shopkeepers who had been looking forward to selling their wares after a two month hiatus.

A raid by district administration authorities was conducted in the city’s Saddar area, after which Zainab Market and Madina City Mall were shut down.

Besides Zainab Market, Victoria Market, International Market, Gul Plaza and Arham Shopping Centre were also sealed off.

According to Assistant Commissioner Asma Batool, the shopkeepers were neither wearing masks or gloves, nor using sanitisers.

The traders protested heavily against the shutting down of shops and raised slogans against the district administration.

Videos that have gone viral on social media clearly show no social distancing protocol being practiced, even during the protest.

Following the closure of markets, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir in a conversation with Geo News, said the traders were responsible for following the SOPs set by the government.

“We had promised the authorities that the guidelines will be implemented but this was not done. The shopkeepers themselves are to blame for this.”

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