KARACHI: The health ministry on Monday informed the task force on coronavirus that it had sent 12 samples of suspected cases for lab test in the past two days and received reports of 11 of them which were negative. The result of the remaining sample was awaited.

They said eight samples of individuals suspected of having coronavirus were sent for lab test on Sunday and results of all those samples came out as negative. Four other samples were sent for lab test on Monday, of them three had been declared negative.

The meeting of the task force was presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and other relevant officials also attended the meeting.

The chief minister was told that the results of eight suspects sent for lab test on Sunday had turned up as negative. Another four samples were sent on Monday; of which three had been declared negative while one result would arrive in the next 24 hours.

681 pilgrims return via Karachi and 1,620 via Taftan

It was also disclosed that 2,301 pilgrims had returned from Iran — 681 via Karachi and 1,620 via Taftan. The health ministry had obtained their complete details and they were under surveillance.

The chief secretary told the chief minister that he had contacted his counterpart in Balochistan for sharing details of the pilgrims coming from Iran via Taftan. The Balochistan government had directed its home ministry to coordinate with the home ministry of Sindh. He added that both ministries would keep sharing details of the pilgrims kept in quarantine at Taftan who would later be allowed to move to Sindh and other provinces.

The chief minister asked the chief secretary to request the Balochistan government to hand over a certificate of health clearance to every person being released from quarantine.

Defiant schools censured

It was pointed out in the meeting that some educational institutions had defied the government orders and were opened on Monday. The chief minister asked the Karachi commissioner and additional IG to take action against them and submit a report to him.

CM Shah said the timely efforts being made by his government had started giving positive results. He thanked the health ministry, district administrations, airport authorities, CAA, FIA, Pakistan Rangers and Corps Headquarters, Sindh police and others for their coordinated efforts.

The city commissioner told the chief minister that during the last five days 87 people had approached the control room of the Commissioner House. The callers were given necessary counselling but none of them had a travel history of Iran or China. He said not only people from Karachi and other divisions of the province were seeking guidance from his control room, but people from other provinces were also calling there for guidance.

The CM was told hand-wash bottles, sanitisers, and essential food commodities had also been provided to the families who had been quarantined. They have also been provided medicines arranged through hospitals and philanthropists.

Development schemes’ review

Chief Minister Shah in the ongoing district development meetings reviewed 288 development schemes worth Rs11.96 billion in three districts of Benazirabad division asking the departments concerned to complete the 207 top-priority schemes for which funds had been released.

He urged the elected representatives of the districts to give ownership to the ongoing development works to ensure their quality and speedy pace of work.

The meeting was told that in Benazirabad district 145 schemes with an allocation of Rs5.77bn were in progress against which Rs3.76bn, or 65 per cent of funds, had been released while the utilisation by the end of February was Rs2.58bn, 69pc of the released amount.

In Naushahro Feroze district 66 schemes of Rs3bn are in progress against which Rs2.2bn had been released while the expenditures were Rs1.48bn.

Similarly, in Sanghar district, 77 schemes of Rs3.1bn are in progress against which Rs1.99bn, or 63pc, had been released while the expenditures were Rs1.26bn, or 63pc.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2020

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