KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday endorsed the decision taken by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in respect of relaxation in certain specific non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) notified on May 15.

“We will review the decision keeping in view the impact of Covid-19 in the post-Eid scenario on Thursday and may take strict decisions if the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are not followed or a spike in the cases is reported,” he said while chairing a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus here at CM House.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar, Home Secretary Usman Chachar, Commissioner Naveed Shaikh, Karachi police chief Imran Minhas and others.

The CM says he will reassess the situation on 20th; endorses NCOC’s decisions

At the outset of the meeting, the task force endorsed relaxation in certain specific NPIs announced by the NCOC on May 15. However, it was decided that the forum would again review its decision on Thursday by evaluating the impact of the virus in the post-Eid scenario.

“If the SOPs are not followed in true letter and spirit the government would take strict action and may withdraw the relaxation given to the NPIs,” the chief minister warned.

142 die from Covid in a month

Briefing the meeting, the health secretary said that from May 10 to May 16, district East had shown 26 per cent Covid-19 cases, South 17pc, Central 14pc, Sukkur 12pc, Hyderabad and Malir 11pc each, Korangi 10pc, Dadu 9pc, West 8pc, Thatta 7pc, Badin, Ghotki, Naushahro Feroze and Shaheed Benazirabad 5pc each.

He said that during last 30 days 142 deaths stemming from Covid-19 had been reported, of them 87pc, or 123 patients, died in hospitals on ventilators and 13pc, or 19 patients, at home.

“We have to save valuable lives by taking necessary measures,” the CM said, adding that it would be possible when people would follow SOPs and get themselves vaccinated.

The meeting was told that there were 664 intensive care unit (ICU) beds with ventilators in the province, of them 58 were occupied, while out of 1,814 HDU beds 460 were occupied.

The health secretary told the meeting that on May 16 the number of patients on ventilators was 55.

He said that in Hyderabad the number of patients on ventilators had not gone up during the May 5 to 16 week.

The chief minister was informed that the Covid-19 unit at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital was closed due to some financial liabilities.

Mr Shah directed the LG minister to get it functional within two days and conduct an inquiry against the liabilities and report to him.

“Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is an important facility and it must operate at its full capacity round the clock,” he ordered.

The meeting was told that the provincial government had received 932,000 doses of Sinopharm, 11,000 Cansino, 280,000 SinoVac and 107,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.

So far, 616,850 vaccines had been utilised for the first dose and 213,798 in the second dose.

During Eid holidays, from May 13 to May 16, some 13,634 vaccines were administered at Expo Centre and 59,886 in the remaining centres of the province.

The chief minister directed the health department to start a mobile vaccination drive for bedridden or handicapped senior citizens.

The meeting was told about the daily oxygen demand for Covid-19 patients and it was observed that necessary measures might be taken to procure more oxygen.

Oxygen production through electrolysis

In another meeting, the chief minister said that his team in collaboration with the Jamshoro Power Company Ltd (JPCL) explored the option of production of oxygen through electrolysis process.

“Initially, the oxygen produced as by-product through electrolysis was wasted and now we have developed a concept to utilise it,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, principal secretary Sajid Jamal Abro, deputy commissioner Jamshoro and JPCL chief Tanveer Jafferi.

Mr Jafferi told the chief minister that initially 92pc purified oxygen had been produced and now the purity percentage was enhanced to 97.7pc.

“The PCSIR has tested the oxygen being produced by the JPCL and declared it fit for medical usage,” he added.

The chief minister said that the concept of oxygen production could be replicated in the thermal power sector throughout the country, where electrolysis was being used as a cooling process.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2021

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