ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan’s top court on Monday ordered the reopening of shopping malls across the country, which were closed as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

According to Geo News, a local broadcaster, the order was passed by a five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

“If the shops are shut down, shopkeepers will die of hunger rather than the coronavirus,” the broadcaster quoted the chief justice as saying.

On May 11, Pakistan relaxed coronavirus restrictions to open small markets and shops across the country ahead of the Muslim Eid ul-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

As per the government decision, all shops and small markets will remain open from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm [local time] for four days a week.

However, the court ruled small markets should also remain open on Saturday and Sunday.

Shopkeepers welcomed the court’s order.

“This is a very good decision and we are thankful to the Supreme Court of Pakistan for feeling our pain,” Gohar Ali, a shopkeeper in Islamabad told Anadolu Agency.

According to the Health Ministry, Pakistan has so far reported 42,125 cases, the second worst-hit country in the South Asia after India.

The deaths number in the country rose to 903 as 30 more people lost their lives over the past 24 hours. As many as 11,922 people have successfully recovered and discharged from the hospitals.

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.