Not Wearing a Face Mask in Pakistan Can Now Lead to Warnings, Fines or Jail

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the Federal government has decided to make facemasks compulsory for all citizens in crowded places as a part of measures taken to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, announced the decree in a media briefing held over the weekend.

Dr. Mirza added that the general public must wear surgical or medical masks. Even a home-made cloth mask would suffice.

Dr. Mirza has requested citizens not to wear N-95 masks since it is a mask specially designed only for health care workers working in high risk and high contamination areas.

In line with the announcement made by SAPM, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Muhammed Hamza Shafqaat, has made wearing face masks in public places across the capital mandatory.

The capital administration will now monitor markets, public places, mosques, public transport, bus stops, streets, roads, and offices to enforce the directives of the Federal government.

District Magistrates, through powers vested in them by law, can either fine the violators up to Rs. 3,000 or send them to jail under section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code or both.

In a meeting of Punjab’s cabinet Coronavirus control committee held two weeks ago, Chief Minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar, had made wearing face masks compulsory for all citizens.

The KP government had made wearing of face masks mandatory on April 25 in efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19. The KP government had directed district administrations to enforce its directives all over the province and ensure violators are dealt with according to law.

On April 18, Both Sindh and Balochistan governments had made wearing face masks mandatory for all citizens. Deputy Commissioners were directed to ensure compliance across the province and deal with violations under relevant laws.

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