Centre to give Sindh govt $10m from WB funds to fight coronavirus

Updated 22 Mar 2020

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A man disinfects a local mosque on Saturday.—AFP
A man disinfects a local mosque on Saturday.—AFP

KARACHI: The federal government is offering $10 million to the Sindh administration to help it fight coronavirus, said Sindh Governor Imran Ismail on Saturday.

Talking to reporters after visiting a 1,000-beded field hospital set up by the Sindh government with the assistance of the army at the Expo Centre, the governor said that the federal government was fully aware of the challenge and it wanted to meet it with unity and better coordination.

“This is the reason that the federal government has decided to offer financial assistance to provinces form the non-development funds of the World Bank,” he said. “Sindh would be receiving some $10 million, which is the highest amount being offered to any ... province. It’s a national emergency situation and we need to face it collectively to emerge successful.”

He said that the field hospital set up under the civil-military partnership reflected this resolve.

Bilawal directs Sindh CM to ensure that private sector would not lay off labourers, wage earners

He said the army-raised field hospital would remain operational for a longer term to provide health services in the city amid the virus threat. He said a command and control centre and helpline, 021-99204748, had been set up at the Governor House and people could contact it to get help.

Face masks and sanitizers, he said, were provided with the help of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and philanthropists.

“Let me assure you that the federal government is taking vigorous measures to contain coronavirus,” he said. “We are also making sure to provide ration to the families of affected persons and in this regard the cooperation of the Saylani Welfare Trust and other organisations and donors will be welcomed.”

He also called upon members of the national and provincial assemblies to supervise relief operations throughout the province to provide timely protection to the citizens.

Bilawal wants no wage workers to be laid off

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asked his party’s government in Sindh to face the challenge of coronavirus with a multipronged strategy.

He gave these directives to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah who was updating him through a video link about measures so far taken and the future line of action of the provincial government.

“Mr Bhutto-Zardari has asked the government to make every possible move to contain the spread of the virus and leave no stone unturned in the treatment of those who are affected,” said a statement issued from Bilawal House. “Apart from fight against the pandemic and measures for treatment of the people, he also issued directives to take care of another front. The chairman PPP asked the government to also make a strategy for those losing their livelihood due to restriction on social and business life.”

He termed the situation a national challenge, saying beyond political and ideological differences every individual had to play his/her role in this fight.

He also urged the private sector to give daily-wage earners their full salaries during the coronavirus shutdown.

During the briefing, the PPP chairman directed the Sindh government to ensure that no daily-wage earner was laid off and the provincial authorities should make it incumbent upon private organisations to ensure that their employees’ salaries were disbursed in a timely manner.

He said the Sindh government was aware of the economic impact of the outbreak and would take concrete measures to tackle the crisis.

JI chief praises Sindh’s efforts 

Meanwhile, the PPP chairman held a telephonic conversation with Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq.

The two leaders agreed that the coronavirus challenge had demanded great national unity.

“The two leaders discussed the current situation against the background of coronavirus spread and agreed that it’s high time to show national unity and larger cooperation. The JI chief also praised the Sindh government for its measures,” said the statement.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2020