Bilawal asks Sindh govt to prepare for ‘worst’ coronavirus situation

Updated April 10, 2020

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The PPP chairman was briefed on the government’s recent attempt to persuade the private hospitals to share their experiences and resources with the provincial administration in fight against the virus. — DawnNewsTV/File
The PPP chairman was briefed on the government’s recent attempt to persuade the private hospitals to share their experiences and resources with the provincial administration in fight against the virus. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari warned his party government in Sindh on Thursday to prepare for the “worst situation” emerging from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He wanted the PPP provincial government to equip itself with a comprehensive plan warning that he would not tolerate any shortfall in the provision of assistance to those who were facing consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a need to speed up capacity and ability building efforts to meet the growing challenge,” he said while presiding over a meeting through video link at Bilawal House on preparation of the government to deal with the lockdown and its challenges.

The meeting, attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and other members of the cabinet and provincial administration, also discussed the future strategy for battle against the global pandemic.

Repeats call to the centre to support Sindh and make this fight a united effort

“The Sindh government should be ready for the worst situation,” a statement issued by Bilawal House after the meeting quoted the PPP chairman as saying. “The government should have a comprehensive plan to fight against the coronavirus in the worst case scenario. For this, the provincial government should speed up its efforts and mobilise all resources.”

Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s warning came days before the end of the scheduled lockdown date, April 14.

The Sindh government has already hinted that the three-week province-wide lockdown may not be eased off after April 14 as Chinese experts, owners and chief executive officers of private hospitals and leading doctors have urged the provincial government to extend the restrictions to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in Sindh.

Apart from the conventional strategy to meet the challenges emerging from the spread of the virus and lockdown, the PPP chairman also called for increasing research-based efforts. “A research team of the Sindh government is also doing its job for a future strategy considering the current trend of virus and its impact,” the statement quoted Mr Bhutto-Zardari as saying. “I urge the research team to review the situation across the country which emerged in the wake of coronavirus. The team should also share its findings with other provinces so they can also take advantage of such a study.”

The PPP chairman was briefed on the government’s recent attempt to persuade the private hospitals to share their experiences and resources with the provincial administration in fight against the virus. The meeting was informed that all the CEOs and owners of private hospitals had assured the chief minister that they would provide him equipment, manpower, technical and expert support whenever the provincial government needed. The CM in that regard, the PPP chairman was briefed, had also formed a committee headed by Health Minister Dr Pechuho and comprising Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Saadia and others as members to work out a plan to tackle the situation.

“The Sindh government official briefed the PPP chairman about the government’s performance so far in the wake of the pandemic. He was informed that the Sindh government is also focusing on health facilities in Sukkur, Jacobabad, Larkana and Dadu,” it said.

The PPP chairman again urged the centre to support the Sindh government and make this fight a united effort. “We all need to take it up collectively. If we want to emerge successful in these challenging times, we need to prove our unity,” the statement quoted the PPP chairman as saying.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020