KARACHI: The federal and Sindh governments on Saturday agreed on joint efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus and warned that the recent decline in Covid-19 cases should not send a wrong message as people had to be more cautious and careful during Eidul Azha and Muharram.
In the first meeting of its kind held at CM House, which was hosted by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and chaired by federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, the policy of all the provinces, future strategy to contain the virus and standard operating procedures during the Eid were discussed.
The meeting was co-chaired by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) National Coordinator Lt Gen Hamood-uz-Zaman and attended, among others, by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and Education Minister Saeed Ghani.
The chief secretaries of three other provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan also attended the meeting through video link and shared the situation amid challenges of coronavirus pandemic and progress made in its curtailment in their respective provinces.
First NCOC meeting held at CM House in Karachi
Meanwhile, the country reported 1,444 Covid-19 cases and 30 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 262,816 and deaths to 5,544. Overall, 198,509 patients have so far recovered.
The chief minister told the meeting that Sindh could conduct 12,000 Covid-19 tests in a single day though the number of tests conducted had dropped in the past few days.
He said the NCOC had fared well and the Sindh government had imposed lockdown in coronavirus hotspots throughout the province and had set up two hospitals in Karachi for Covid-19 patients.
Discussing safety precautions for animal markets in the city, he said that temporary facilities had been set up at places outside the residential areas designated by the government and sale and purchase of animals in streets had been prohibited.
Asad Umar said that the main purpose of bringing the NCOC meetings to the provinces was to ensure improvement in the fight against the pandemic.
He called for joint efforts by the centre and the provinces, which were needed to control the coronavirus spread.
He also appreciated the efforts of the provincial governments that had helped control the pandemic.
The minister said that the federal government was working together with the provincial governments in the battle against Covid-19.
Appreciating the role of the NCOC, the Sindh chief minister expressed the hope that the body would enhance its performance in the days to come.
Asad Umar responded positively and assured the CM that the NCOC would keep all provinces on board while devising policy on the national challenge.
He said the NCOC meeting in Karachi was a reflection of the federal government’s resolve to move in consensual direction and such meetings would be held in other provinces as well.
Federal Interior Minister Ejaz Shah, the Prime Minister’s focal person on Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan, chief of Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus and other senior officials also attended the meeting.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2020