Sindh govt swings into action, orders closure of marriage halls, shrines for 3 weeks

Updated 14 Mar 2020

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Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the Sukkur commissioner to begin screening Zaireens entering the province. — DawnNewsTV
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the Sukkur commissioner to begin screening Zaireens entering the province. — DawnNewsTV

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday directed officials to establish a quarantine room in each district to combat the spread of coronavirus, as the province reported another case of the virus.

In addition, the government has also decided to close all marriage halls, shrines and cinemas for the next three weeks.

Chairing a meeting of the provincial task force on COVID-19 on Saturday, the Sindh chief minister directed the Sukkur commissioner to begin screening Zaireens coming in from the Iran-Pakistan border at Taftan, adding that he was personally monitoring the situation and will stay in touch with the Sukkur commissioner over the matter.

Addressing the health department, the Sindh chief minister said there were a total of 853 Zaireens at the border. Therefore, more preparations were needed in this regard to prevent any untoward situation, he added.

Shah said he had sent his helicopter to Sukkur to bring back blood samples of the Zaireens arriving from the Taftan border.

Meanwhile, Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab added that the Sindh government had also decided to close all cinemas, marriage halls and shrines for the next three weeks.

Speaking to reporters in Karachi, Wahab said the first batch of Zaireens from the Iran-Pakistan border at Taftan had entered the province and a separate quarantine facility had been established for them in Sukkur.

He said: "A total 308 people were moved from the Taftan Border to the quarantine facility in Sukkur. They will be kept here for the next 14 days. If they test negative for coronavirus, they will be allowed to leave."

Wahab said there were a total of 853 Zaireens at the Taftan Border, who will later be shifted to the quarantine facility, adding that the facility had the capacity to hold 2,048 people.

He maintained that the provincial government had also established 12 isolation centres at the following places:

  • Chandka Medical College
  • Ghulam Muhammad Mahar Medical College
  • Gambat Institute of Medical Science
  • Jacobabad Institute of Medical Science
  • Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College
  • Dow University of Health Sciences Ojha Campus
  • Civil Hospital Karachi
  • Lyari General Hospital
  • Liaqat University in Hyderabad and its campus in Jamshoro
  • Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences for Women in Benazirabad
  • Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas

"Fully equipped isolation centres have been established at these institutions and, in addition to ensuring the provision of medicine, ventilators have also been made available," he said.

The Sindh spokesman added that two separate hospitals had been established to deal with the coronavirus, refraining from disclosing the exact location of the facilities. "Around 16 ventilators have been provided to these facilities," he added.

Sindh govt issues advisories for public

The Sindh government on Saturday also issued advisories for prisoners and prison staff, visitors to hotels and guest houses, and the general public.

According to the advisories, all prisoners must be kept in their cells at a distance of one metre away from each other.

Further, all people including prison employees who arrived in the country within the last 15 days, particularly those with a cough, fever or shortness of breath, will not be allowed to enter prisons.

The advisory also urged people to stay at home and refrain from going to crowded places and urged all those who had entered the country in the last 15 days to self-quarantine.

In addition, it directed management of all hotels and guest houses to check staff and visitors for a fever before allowing them to enter their premises.

The Sindh government urged all citizens to take precautionary measures such as washing their hands, limiting their movement, and avoiding touching their faces.