KARACHI: Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail on Thursday visited the Quaid-i-Azam International Airport Karachi to check screening arrangements for travellers coming from various countries.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) disinfection team leader Dr Asim Mehmood Khan briefed the governor about the screening arrangements and precautionary measures made at the airport.

The governor appreciated the screening protocol adopted for passengers entering Karachi.

Members of Provincial Assembly of Sindh Haleem Adil Sheikh and Khurram Sher Zaman were also present.

Talking to journalists after inspecting the arrangements, the governor said Pakistan could not afford a lockdown as large number of people earned their livelihood on daily basis.

The federal government is fully aware of the situation and no suggestion of lockdown is being considered at the federal level, he added.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan knew the severity of the matter and he was continuously monitoring the situation. He had visited Dera Ghazi Khan and other places where infected people were kept in quarantine for their recovery, the governor added.

He said that it was a natural calamity, which required unity and coordinated efforts.

If any patient is quarantined for 14 days it is in his own interest as well as his relatives and other citizens, he added.

He said that by adopting precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded places, handshakes and remaining inside in case of any symptom of virus, it could be averted. “By observing simple precautionary measures we can save not only ourselves, but also our younger generations,” he remarked.

The Sindh governor said that people should not panic and stay together to face this pandemic with unity.

Refuting the impression that the federal government was not paying any heed to Sindh, Imran Ismail said that there was no truth in such “baseless propaganda”.

The federal government has provided 1,500 test kits to the Sindh government and health institutions of the province while 200 test machines and thousands of masks would soon be provided to the province by NDMA, he added.

He said that it was not the time for blame game and we all must act as a team.

The federal and the provincial governments are in one team for eradication of this virus, he observed.

The governor said that he had requested the prime minister and the National Security Council to close marriage and cinema halls, which was done.

Police must take action against those holding large gatherings on roadsides and in houses, he said while responding to a question regarding non-compliance with ban on large gatherings.

He asked the media to point out such violations to administration and the Sindh government so that action against violators could be taken. The role of media in educating masses about the precautionary measures and creating awareness was of immense importance and it should act accordingly, he requested.

The governor of Sindh added that the media should also highlight steps being taken by the government in this regard.

The NDMA has been acting proactively for combating this natural calamity and he is in constant contact with its chairman. He said after sanitising the Karachi airport, City and Cantt railway stations would also be sanitised.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2020