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Pakistan

Forced to get jabs, citizens overrun Karachi's Expo Centre

  • Administration's slow response and inability to handle high volume of people results in greater turnaround time, causing frustration among the masses
  • Footage shows stampede-like situation at Karachi's biggest vaccination centre
Published July 31, 2021
Karachi's Expo Centre overrun as citizens scrambled to get vaccinated

Long queues coupled with a surge in demand of vaccinations resulted in chaos at Karachi's Expo Centre on Saturday as people rushed to get their jabs after Sindh imposed what it called a 'partial' lockdown a day ago.

CCTV footage showed a stampede-like situation as citizens in Karachi rushed to the city's biggest vaccination centre to get their jabs, now made mandatory for all people over the age of 18 in the province.

In addition, a slower-than-usual vaccination process resulted in high turnaround time, resulting in massive backlog that caused further frustration among the masses that were pushed into getting the vaccines after Sindh issued multiple warnings.

The administration's slow response and inability to handle such a large number of vaccine-seeking citizens also added to the misery. Incidents of violence followed with windows of the vaccination centre being smashed as people vented their anger.

Pakistan picks up vaccination pace, administers highest number of Covid-19 doses in a day

Security personnel on duty were also injured and the condition of several people is said to have deteriorated due to the stampede and rush.

Only one hall of the vaccination centre was opened after the violence, resulting in a longer wait for those who stayed, reported Aaj News.

Sindh issues warning, wants people to get vaccinated

The surge in demand of vaccination comes as Sindh issued multiple warnings ahead of imposing the 'partial' lockdown on Friday.

While it directed public offices to get their staff vaccinated or their salaries will be suspended, the government also warned the public that the law-enforcement agencies would ask for their vaccination cards if they come out of their homes during the nine-day 'partial' lockdown.

However, it seems even Sindh could not foresee the surge in demand as Pakistan's largest city, which houses more than 20 million people, embraced the vaccination process.

Last week, the Sindh government had asked the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to approve the blocking of SIM cards and social media accounts of unvaccinated people.

On July 29, the NCOC also set August 31 as the deadline for people to get vaccinated. After the deadline, only vaccinated people would be allowed to enter both public and private sector offices, businesses, and high-risk sectors.

The Sindh Health Department also declared an emergency in hospitals amid the fourth wave of the coronavirus. “There are reasons that the 4th wave of Covid-19 outbreak hit Sindh Province and due to constant increase in positivity ratio, the Medical Superintendent of Tertiary care hospitals have requested for imposing emergency in hospitals,” according to a notification from the Sindh Health Department.

Sindh's lockdown decision to impact Pakistan's economy, says Fawad

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Saturday that 30 people died during the last 24 hours due to Covid-19, taking the province’s total death toll to 6,001.

A total of 2,772 new cases emerged during the last 24 hours against 18,267 tests, translating to positivity of over 15%.

The chief minister added so far 5,008,192 tests have been conducted in the province, and 382,848 cases were diagnosed for Covid-19. Of these 86.8 percent or 332,409 patients have fully recovered.

Currently, 44,438 patients are under treatment in the province. “Of these, 43,000 are in home isolation, 1,399 at different hospitals, and 39 patients in Isolation Centers.”

The country reported 4,950 new cases on July 30, out of 58,479 tests, according to the NCOC.

Sindh govt eases some restrictions, but lockdown intact

These are the highest number of cases recorded since April 29, when 5,113 new infections were reported.

On July 30, 904,830 people were vaccinated against Covid-19, bring the total number to 29,648,055 in Pakistan.

Lockdown restrictions amended

Meanwhile, the Sindh government amended on Saturday its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions issued a day ago, allowing companies and industries with 100 percent vaccination of their workers to remain open.

Milk shops, bakeries, and carriage vehicles for dairy products have been exempted from time restrictions.

Home delivery from restaurants has been permitted, provided delivery personnel are fully vaccinated.

Industrial establishments and premises other than export-oriented industries and related to the manufacturing and production of essential services can also function, given all employees at the industries are fully vaccinated.

Fertilizers and pesticide shops and warehouses are exempted from timing restrictions, provided that the entire staff working at these premises is fully vaccinated.

Earlier on Saturday, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the Sindh government’s decision to impose a lockdown will only increase the plights of the common man, adding that the province is the jugular vein of Pakistan's economy.

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