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KARACHI: The Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus, keeping in view the rising trend of new cases and increasing death rate, has decided to continue the ongoing restrictions for the next two weeks with strict Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) all over Sindh.

A meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was held here at CM House on Saturday. The provincial ministers, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Police Mushtaq Maher, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Commissioner Karachi Naveed Shaikh, AIG Karachi Imran Minhas, Dr Abdul Bari, Dr Faisal, Dr Qaider Sajjad, Dr Sara Khan of WHO, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary School Education, Secretary Health Dr Kazim Jatoi, VC Dow University Prof Saeed Qureshi, representatives of Corps-5 and Rangers attended the meeting.

The meeting was told that 24,299 tests were conducted on May 21, against which 2,136 Covid-19 cases were detected, which constituted 8.8 percent detection rate and 22 patients died on May 21 which was termed a dangerous trend. It was disclosed that 17,197 travellers landed at Jinnah Terminal from May 5 to 21, 2021; their rapid antigen tests were conducted and 38 travellers or 0.22 percent results came positive.

Reviewing the post Eidul Fitr scenario, it was revealed that on Eid Day, May 13, there were 1,232 cases which went on abnormally increasing to 2,136 on May 21, 2021. At this, the chief minister said that it means 904 cases increased within eight days of Eid.

The meeting was told that during the last seven days, from May 15 to 21, the number of cases in Karachi East had shown a 27 percent detection rate, South 15 percent, Central 13 percent, Korangi, West and Malir 10 percent. During the said week Hyderabad and Dadu had shown 11 percent detection rate.

The chief minister was told that during the last 30 days 232 patients of Covid-19 died, of them 164 or 71 percent in hospitals on ventilators and 42 or 18 percent off ventilators and 26 or 11 percent at their homes. The chief minister said, “It means the situation is worsening.”

The health department, sharing the bed occupancy data with the chief minister, said that out of 664 ICU beds with ventilators 68 were occupied, of them 64 in Karachi, two each in Hyderabad and Shaheed Benazirabad. Similarly, out of 1,815 HDU beds 558 were occupied, including 441 in Karachi 45 in Hyderabad, 36 in Sukkur, 17 Shaheed Benazirabad.

The meeting was told that so far the government had received 10,07,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, 47,000 Casino, 485,000 Sinovac and 107,500 AstraZeneca. In the first dose 725,587 vaccines and in the second dose 255,132 vaccines have been utilised.

Decisions: Keeping in view the serious situation of the cases and growing number of deaths, the chief minister decided to continue the ongoing restrictions for next two weeks and again the situation would be reviewed on June 6/7. He also decided that all the recreational places, including Seaview, Hawksbay, amusement parks and others would remain closed, however walking tracks in the parks would remain open only for walking and jogging purposes.

It was decided that the business hours would be from 6am to 6pm. All the shops, including supermarkets, would close their business activities at 6pm sharp. “The educational institutions in the province would open when the Covid-19 situation improved, otherwise, they would remain closed,” the chief minister said and directed the education minister to take necessary measures to vaccinate the teachers in all the educational institutions.

The meeting decided that intercity transport would operate at 50 percent off their seating capacity. In case of violation, the transporters would be fined heavily.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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