The Sindh government on Thursday decided to maintain the Covid-19 restrictions in place due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases witnessed after Eidul Fitr.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the provincial task force on Covid-19, presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by provincial ministers, chief secretary, law enforcers and representatives from the World Health Organisation.
The Sindh government's decision comes a day after the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced the lifting of a number of restrictions imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
This included the staggered reopening of educational institutions in districts where the positivity rate was less than 5pc and resumption of outdoor dining.
On Thursday, the Sindh chief minister expressed alarm at the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the province. "A record 20,421 coronavirus tests were conducted yesterday out of which 9,000 were in Karachi," he said, adding that 2,076 cases had been confirmed positive, which meant a positivity rate of 10.2 per cent. He added that the positivity rate for Karachi stood at 16.82pc.
Explaining the worsening situation, the chief minister said that 1,232 cases had been recorded in the province on May 13. "After Eid on May 19, there were 2,076 cases which is a positivity of 10.2pc."
"It is clear from this that cases are rising in Sindh," he said, adding that "we are finding it difficult to relax restrictions in the province."
Meanwhile, the Sindh health department tweeted that "the rise in Covid positive cases is of great concern." It added that Karachi was in a "critical situation" and warned that unless standard operating procedures were followed, "strict administrative action will be taken to control the increase in infection rates."
During the meeting, the other members and experts in the task force advised the chief minister to continue the current restrictions in place. They further advised him to take even stricter decisions if required.
It was also decided to hold another session of the task force on Saturday where the situation would be reviewed and if there was an improvement in the incidence of cases, then restrictions would be relaxed. If the cases did not seem to be on the decline, however, further restrictions would be imposed.
The chief minister asked members of the task force to present their recommendations for further measures after reviewing the situation.