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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting on provincial Task Force on Coronavirus, decided to close indoor, outdoor dining at restaurants and marriage halls, closed all the shrines, recreational spots and educational institutions, except those where examinations were taking place and reduced business timings of markets/shops from 6am to 6pm from Monday.

The chief minister said that pharmacies and bakeries would operate as usual but there would be two safe/ closed days: Friday and Sunday and government and private offices would function with 50 percent staff attendance, except the departments/ organisations of essential services.

The meeting was held at CM House and was attended by provincial ministers Saeed Ghani, Jam Ikramullah Dharejo, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, IG Police Mushtaq Maher, ACS Home Qazi Shahid Parvez, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi, Dr Bari, Dr Sara Khan of WHO, Dr Qaiser Sajjid, VC Dow University Dr Saeed Qureshi, representatives of Corps-5, Rangers and other concerned organisations.

Secretary Health Dr Kazim Jatoi briefing the meeting said that overall Covid-19 detection ratio has been recorded at 10.3 percent in the province but in Karachi it has reached 21.54 percent on July 22, 2021. At this the chief minister said that on July 16 there were 14.27 cases of Covid-19 in Karachi which went on increasing to 21.54 percent on July 22. “This is a dangerous situation, and it has to be controlled, otherwise everything would go out of control,” he said.

The meeting was told that during the last one week, from July 12 to 19, 2021 District East had 29 percent cases, Korangi 17 percent, Central and South 15 percent each, West and Malir 10 percent each.

Important analysis: Analysing 457 cases of Covid-19, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi told the meeting that 35 percent of patients were infected in gatherings, 23 percent in marriage functions, 17 percent in international travelling. In July so far 307 patients have died, of them 201 or 65 percent on ventilators, 70 i.e. 23 percent off ventilators, 36 or 12 percent at home.

The meeting was told that out of total 1002 Covid-19 patients admitted in hospitals, 85 percent were non-vaccinated, and 15 percent were vaccinated but the vaccinated patients had mild symptoms. Another study of all hospitalised patients was conducted which revealed that 76 percent had the first dose of vaccination and 24 percent were fully vaccinated. The severity of the infection was higher among the first dose patients than the fully vaccinated. This proved that the vaccination was necessary.

At this the chief minister directed Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi to coordinate with the Accountant General of Sindh for stopping the salary of non-vaccinated government employees. He also decided to approach PTA authorities through NCOC for sending a service message to all the mobile phone users to get them vaccinated within a week and after one week their mobile phone sims would be blocked.

Vaccination: The meeting was told that so far 6,720,997 doses of vaccinations have been received, of them 5,312,921 have been utilised. The chief minister directed the health department to speed up vaccination drives through centres and mobile units.

Decisions: Keeping in view the abnormal spike in Covid-19 cases the chief minister decided to close indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, marriage halls from Monday, however takeaway service would continue with certain SOPs.

He also decided that all the educational institutions would be closed from Monday, except those where examinations have been scheduled or going on. The office attendance in all government and private institutions would function with 50 percent staff, except the departments of essential services.

The business hours of markets and shops, except pharmacies, bakeries and groceries have been fixed from 6am to 6pm from Monday, Shah said and added the shrines, recreational places such as Seaview, Hawksbay, keenjhar and others would also remain closed till further orders.

The chief minister said that he would review the Covid-19 situation next week and may take more strict decisions if the situation remained the same.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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