Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Friday said that while the country's overall coronavirus situation was getting better, there was a significant lack of improvement in Sindh, particularly in the provincial capital Karachi.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister said that the number of deaths, patients admitted to hospitals and patients on ventilators had gone down.
Crediting this development to citizens following precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, Umar said if this continues, the country's situation will continue to improve.
"However, there is only one area where we are not seeing that much improvement, which is in Sindh, especially Karachi," he said.
He maintained that to address this, the National Command and Operation Centre team held a meeting with the provincial chief secretary and the provincial health minister and was working on a way to replicate the results from the rest of the country in Sindh.
He also urged citizens to remain mindful of the fact that an improvement was only being seen because they were following precautionary measures.
"Don't take this to mean that the pandemic is going away on its own and you can do whatever you want," he cautioned, adding that a lapse in following preventive measures could cause the number of cases to rise again.
"I had earlier warned that our cases could reach 1.2 million by July end if we don't take action or follow preventive measures. But because people are following precautionary measures and the administration is also taking action [...] this number may be less than 400,000."
He concluded his press conference by urging the public to follow doctors' advice with seriousness.
Some areas in Karachi placed under 'smart lockdown'
In light of the recommendations made by the district health officer, certain areas in Karachi were placed under a 'smart lockdown' on Friday to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The deputy commissioner of Karachi's Malir district ordered a lockdown of five days, from July 3-7 in "the large(r) public interest and to prevent/slowdown the spread of deadly coronavirus".
Phases I and II of UC-06, Gulshan-i-Hadeed will be sealed and all commercial markets, shopping malls and superstores and markets in the main streets of the area will remain closed, a notification said.
Meanwhile, the Karachi West district commissioner imposed a lockdown in areas of six UCs for two weeks, from July 3-17. The following areas will be sealed:
Gulshan-i-Maymar blocks X, Y and Z, UC-5 Songal, Gadap
Docks & Majeed Colony, UC-3, Kemari
Saedabad blocks 5G, 5J and A3, UC-5, Baldia
UC-4 Metroville blocks 1-5, SITE
UC-11 Data Nagar, Area A/B, Orangi
UC-12 Mujahid Colony (Millatabad, Gulfamabad and Aligarh Colony), Orangi
Similarly, the Karachi South district deputy commissioner also announced a complete lockdown in Civil Lines, Garden, Arambagh, Lyari and Saddar for two weeks, from July 3-17.
According to the notification, the following areas will be sealed:
All commercial areas in Khayaban-i-Rahat, Civil Lines
Block 4, Clifton, Civil Lines
All localities in Bath Island
Block 5, Clifton, Civil Lines (all the areas between Khayaban-e-Saadi and Khayaban-e-lqbal and between Bank Road and Neher-e-Khayyam, including all businesses)
Khori Garden Market, Kharadar, Arambagh
Machi Miyani Market, Kharadar, Arambagh
All the commercial areas of Jeelani Masjid Road, Garden
All the commercial areas of Hari Masjid Road, Nanakwara, Garden
Doli Khata, Garden
Shoe Market, Garden
Madni Road, Lyari
Mosa Lane, Lyari