KARACHI: Sindh’s Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus on Saturday decided to reopen business activities all over the province from August 10 (Monday), as proposed by the National Coordination Committee (NCC). However educational institutions would reopen on Sept 15.
The provincial government will once again review the situation in the first week of next month to go ahead with the plan.
A meeting in this connection was held here on Saturday with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the chair.
The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Mukesh Chawla, Nasir Shah and advisor Murtaza Wahab, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Sindh Mushtaq Mahar and other relevant officials.
At the outset of the meeting, the chief minister said that just after the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting, the prime minister had chaired the NCC meeting in Islamabad on August 6 in which it was decided to reopen all business activities, including educational institutions and others, from Sept 15.
However, it was decided that the provincial governments would review the situation in their task force meetings to take final decisions.
Covid-19 situation improving*
Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho told the meeting participants that the coronavirus situation had improved. The number of new cases has started to decline.
At this, the CM said that during the past 30 days, cases had dropped significantly.
He added that on July 8, 1,782 new cases were reported and on every successive day the number went down and finally on Aug 7, 487 new cases were reported.
“This doesn’t mean that coronavirus has been eliminated or contained but it teaches us that the virus still exists and we have to learn how to live with it until its vaccine is prepared,” he said.
The chief minister decided that the Covid-19 hospitals established at NIPA and University Road would continue to function, but they would be strengthened further, however, he directed the health minister to review the requirement of field isolation centre at Expo Centre.
“If you want to continue with the facilities, please go ahead; otherwise, it may be wound up and its equipment may be shifted where they are required,” he said.
The chief minister sought the opinion of leading doctors in the meeting about opening of the social, educational and business activities and they supported opening them, but under strict SOPs.
Policy decision: business until 9pm
The chief minister taking a policy decision said that the business activities would be allowed to function up to 9pm while restaurants would be allowed to operate up to 9pm also.
This may be enhanced on weekends, he said and added that “we have to change our behaviours by starting the day early in the morning and ending it latest by 10pm”.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020