Sindh govt imposes ‘smart lockdown’ in province’s select areas

Updated 17 Jun 2020

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THESE women selling dried fruit in front of Empress Market on Tuesday may face a ‘smart lockdown’ now a few days after returning to work following months of restrictions.—Online
THESE women selling dried fruit in front of Empress Market on Tuesday may face a ‘smart lockdown’ now a few days after returning to work following months of restrictions.—Online

KARACHI: As the federal government identified some 20 potential Covid-19 hotspots where restrictive measures are needed to contain the virus in line with the prime minister’s smart lockdown policy, the local administration moved into action on Tuesday to place restrictions in several areas of different districts and sought a nod from the Sindh government for imposing the lockdown in a number of other neighbourhoods, including some in Karachi’s West district and towns of Hyderabad.

Officials said that the move was aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in line with the uniform policy across the country devised by the National Coordination and Operation Centre (NCOC).

“In areas of Jamshoro a 14-day lockdown has been imposed on Tuesday,” said an official citing orders from the deputy commissioner office. “The areas of lockdown included Khosa Mohalla, Memon Mohalla of Bubak town and Lorhai Street near Wadero Bahar Memon of Taluka Sehwan. According to the DC’s order, no person can exit these localities, except [for] supplying of essential commodities. The restriction would remain in place for the next 14 days.”

The same policy was adopted by Sukkur administration. However, the deputy commissioner selected different areas for different time period of lockdown. In some areas maximum eight-day lockdown has been imposed and in some parts of the city the restrictions would be lifted after three days.

Authorities finalising arrangements for enforcing lockdown in parts of Karachi’s West district

“Local Board near Girls Degree College, Soomra Mohalla Pano Akil, Sindhi Society in New Sukkur and Bhelar Mohalla Pano Akil will observe an eight-day lockdown effective from Tuesday,” said an official. “The restrictions in Gajwani Mohalla Rohri would be eased after seven days while surrounding areas of Haidri Masjid in five days and Shah Khalid Colony in New Sukkur would be freed from the lockdown after three days.”

The government had announced that 20 cities had been identified as potential Covid-19 hotspots/clusters where restrictive measures were needed to contain the virus in line with the prime minister’s smart lockdown policy.

Of the 20 cities, six are in Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Ghotki, Larkana and Khairpur).

Despite serious differences of approach and thoughts over policy of lockdown between federal and provincial governments, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) administration in Sindh insisted to follow the uniform policy instead of imposing a complete lockdown in the cities. Under the same strategy, district administrations in different parts of the province have started identifying the hotspots.

Lockdown likely in district West

In Karachi, the city commissioner was actively involved with his team and officials of the health department identifying areas facing serious challenge of spread of Covid-19.

A complete list is expected to be completed till late in the night and it would lead to implementation of the smart lockdown strategy.

“We are still in the process of identifying the areas where we are seeing major number of cases. Once this process is done, we would then formalise the strategy that how we need to go with the restriction and devise the execution plan,” Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani told Dawn.

Meanwhile, in West district the deputy commissioner has identified UC-5 Songal which included Gulshan-i-Maymar and Khuda Ki Basti, UC-6 Maymarabad where Surjani Sectors L-1, 5-C-, 5-D, 4-B, 4-C and 7-A are located, said an official.

“In Keamari UC-1 Bhutta Village, UC-2 Sultanabad, and UC-3 Docks and Majeed Colony have been identified. In Baldia Town areas under UC-3 Islam Nagar, UC-4 Naziabad, UC-5 Saeedabad, UC-6 and UC-7 Mohajir Camps have been spotted for the smart lockdown. The UC-4 Metroville, UC-6 Frontier Colony and UC-7 Banaras are also among them in SITE area. Three UCs have been identified in Orangi Town including UC-6 Ghaziabad, UC-11 Data Nagar and UC-12 Mujahid Colony.”

The official said the decision about areas in district West had not been made yet but the district administration had recommended a lockdown at the earliest to contain the spread of the virus.

Lockdown in Hyderabad

The same findings emerged about several localities of Hyderabad where number of areas were identified for the proposed smart lockdown, which would become effective from June 18.

“A detailed smart lockdown has been planned for Hyderabad,” said an official. “It would be effective from June for possibly two weeks but exact timeline is not yet decided. It would be imposed in UC Latifabad-1, UC Latifabad-2, UC Latifabad-4, UC City-1, the localities under Qasimabad-1, Qasimabad-2, Qasimabad-3, Qasimabad-4, and Qasimabad-5. According to an estimate, the proposed lockdown in Hyderabad would affect over 30,000 people. So far, in these localities, more than 300 positive cases of coronavirus have been reported.”

The deputy commissioner of Qambar-Shahdadkot also announced a lockdown in Gharibabad Mohalla Qambar, Hindu Mohalla Shahdadkot, Shaikh Mohalla Shahdadkot, Heerabad Mohalla Shahdadkot, Gharibabad Mohalla Shahdadkot, Hindu and Shaikh Mohalla Nasirabad and Soomra Mohalla Waggan, Warah “till further orders”.

Deputy commissioner Matiari also announced to impose lockdown in several areas falling under three talukas — Matiari, Hala and Saeedabad. The official said more than a dozen neighbourhoods were identified in three talukas where a number of cases of Covid-19 had been reported in recent days.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2020