Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Monday that 50 per cent of the active Covid-19 cases in the country were present in Sindh.
Addressing a session of the provincial task force on Covid-19 which was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and Saeed Ghani, law enforcers, chief secretary, medical professionals and a World Health Organisation representative, CM Shah said: "Fifty per cent of all the [current Covid] cases in the country are in Sindh."
"I am getting the most complaints about [violation of] SOPs (standard operating procedures) in district East and district Central," said the chief minister. He directed the Karachi commissioner to ensure SOP implementation "at all costs".
With regard to the positivity rate of cases in Karachi, the session was informed that it stood at 21pc in district East, 16pc in district South, and 10pc in district Central. Other districts of the province meanwhile had 11pc in Hyderabad, 10pc in Dadu and 8pc in Sukkur.
The meeting was also informed that 261 Covid-19 patients had passed away as of May 23 since the beginning of the month, while the number of patients on ventilators had risen to 71. There were 604 patients on oxygen, CM Shah was told.
The session was further informed that 90 patients had been admitted to hospitals in Karachi in the last 24 hours which compared to 83 in Multan, 177 in Lahore and 31 patients in Islamabad.
"We have to protect our people by vaccinating them in any case," stressed the chief minister and directed for mass vaccinations in industrial areas. "Vaccination should be carried out in industrial areas with the cooperation of industrialists," he said.
He also ordered the deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police to ensure implementation of the following new restrictions placed by the government.
- Business timings to be from 5am to 6pm, while bakeries and milk shops will be allowed to operate till midnight.
- Pharmacies in shopping malls and super stores to close by 6pm
- Indoor or outdoor dining will not be allowed at restaurants, however, delivery and takeaway will be allowed.
- Public transport — intercity, intra-city and inter-provincial — will be allowed subject to 50pc occupancy and compliance with Covid SOPs.
- All education institutions including schools, colleges and universities will remain closed for a further two weeks, till the situation improves or till further review by the provincial task force on Covid-19.
- Fridays and Sundays will be observed as closed days by businesses across the province except Hyderabad where Fridays and Saturdays will be observed as closed days instead.
The chief minister warned in Monday's session that if the restrictions were violated, "I will take action", adding, "If we fully comply with the two-week restrictions then we will have ease ahead."
Some other additional measures were also decided in the session such as a restriction on unnecessary movement after 8pm from tomorrow onwards, with the chief minister instructing the inspector general of police to stop unnecessary movement of people in cars.
Permission would be given, however, for people who had to visit hospitals or travel for any other important task.
Additionally, park lights would be closed off after sunset.
"If the people cooperate then cases will reduce after two week and we will be able to go towards lifting [of restrictions]," said CM Shah.
Sindh extends restrictions by two more weeks
On Saturday, the Provincial Task Force on coronavirus, keeping in view the rising trend of new cases and increasing death rate, had decided to continue with the ongoing restrictions for the next two weeks with strict SOPs across the province.
“The educational institutions in the province would be opened when the Covid-19 situation would improve,” the chief minister had said, and directed the education minister to take the necessary measures to vaccinate teachers at all educational institutions.
Saturday's decision had come after the Sindh government had decided on Thursday to continue with the existing restrictions due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases witnessed after Eidul Fitr.