KARACHI: The provincial task force on coronavirus on Friday decided to approach the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to impose a ban on interprovincial transport for two weeks and start registration of people for Covid-19 vaccine.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at CM House, was attended among others by provincial ministers and officials concerned.

The meeting was told that from March 26 to April 1, the positive ratio of Covid-19 was recorded at 4.63 per cent in Karachi, 5pc in Hyderabad and 1.5pc in rest of Sindh and overall the provincial positive ratio was 2.83pc.

The WHO representative said that the variants of concern (VoC) of UK origin were being reported in Pakistan and it would spread widely if its chain was not broken.

He pointed out that from March 26 to this date on average 55 deaths per day had been recorded.

Closure of schools for 15 days being mulled

The WHO representative said that Pakistan had the capacity for VoC detection. He said that Pakistan had reported an increased number of VoC since January.

The WHO recommended a strategy for variant monitoring and tracking. It assured its support at national and provincial levels for detection of identified VoC and strengthening capacity for early identification of emerging new variants.

The provincial task force decided to approach the federal government to impose a ban on interprovincial transport so that travelling of people to and from Sindh could be stopped to contain the virus.

The chief minister said that he was not in favour of a lockdown but wanted to ban interprovincial transport so that people could not move from one province to the other.

“This is the only way to contain the UK origin virus,” he said, adding: “The activity at seaport and goods transport would operate as usual.”

Data collection of passengers from UK

The meeting decided to collect the data of the people who had come from the UK to Karachi during the last few months for necessary tests and vaccination. The home department was assigned the task to collect data from airports.

It is believed that the people who had travelled from the UK to Pakistan had brought the virus.

The task force also recommended that the policemen being the front-line workers should be vaccinated by the government for which the chief minister directed the health department to make necessary arrangements.

The meeting also recommended to the provincial government to shut down schools for next 15 days.

At this, the chief minister directed the education minister to discuss the matter with all the stakeholders, including private school managements before taking a final decision.

“I am leaving it up to the education minister to decide in which areas/districts/cities schools should be closed,” he said.

The task force also urged the government to allow and facilitate private hospitals to procure Covid-19 vaccines as this would help reduce pressure on the public-sector hospitals.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021

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