KARACHI: While Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday felt the need for a stricter lockdown in the province to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases, Governor Imran Ismail hinted at relaxing the restrictions after the three-week period would be over on April 14.
“We are not against the lockdown and we have supported it, but in the prevailing circumstances any extension in such types of restrictions seems not possible,” the governor told reporters during a visit to the head office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Khidmat-i-Khalq Foundation in Federal B Area.
He said that there were several areas in Karachi where many people lived in one small room during the coronavirus pandemic. He said there were people who lined up to avail rations and also there were those white-collar workers who were not ready to take handouts in order to keep their dignity intact.
“It is, therefore, necessary to ease lockdown restrictions after April 14 to save the people from its [negative] effects,” he said, adding that a strategy must be formed to reopen industries and markets.
Murad says coronavirus cases increasing because people take lockdown lightly
Talking about the relief efforts made by the MQM’s charity wing, he said that he came here to encourage the MQM workers and KKF volunteers.
Speaking on the occasion, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui thanked the governor for his visit to the KKF head office.
He informed him of the party’s relief efforts and claimed that the MQM had so far provided rations to 100,000 households in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Stricter lockdown is our need: Murad
Earlier in his video statement released on a daily basis to update the people about the coronavirus situation, the CM said that 104 new coronavirus cases, or 20 per cent of the 531 tests, were detected in the province in one day and it was the highest average in the world.
“This is quite worrisome situation and its solution lies in social distancing,” he said, adding: “A stricter lockdown is our need.”
He said that the surge in coronavirus cases now required figuring out how we would lead our lives onward. “To me, only solution is lockdown and now a few days are left to the present lockdown and we all have to observe it in true letter and spirit.”
He said even in the post-lockdown period people would have to ensure social distancing at their workplaces and at home and even in public transport.
Mr Shah said that the cases increased in the province as the ongoing lockdown was taken lightly. “I have ordered the authorities concerned to further tighten the lockdown in Malir and other areas where more cases have been diagnosed. This is very serious matter and we would have to take it seriously.”
1,318 positive cases in Sindh
The CM said that with the addition of 104 new cases, the province’s tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases reached 1,318.
He said that six patients died till Thursday morning and the number of dead so far reached 28. “The death ratio comes to 2.1 per cent,” he said.
According to the chief minister, 922 patients, including 604 in home isolation and 35 at isolation centres, were under treatment in different hospitals.
“In Hyderabad, 135 patients are under treatment and in Karachi 111 are being treated in different hospitals,” he added.
The CM said that 371 persons had recovered. “Thirteen patients recovered and returned to their homes on Saturday. This is good news,” he said.
Giving frequency of positive cases, the chief minister said that 64 people affected are between one and 10 years of age; 104 between 11 and 20; 270 between 21 and 30; 227 between 31 and 40; 182 between 41 and 50; 197 between 51 and 60, 135 between 61 and 70, 41 between 71 and 80 and five were between 81 and 90 years of age. “This shows that it has affected more the age group between 21 and 60 years,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2020