The Sindh government on Sunday allowed businesses to remain open till 8pm instead of 6pm, as had been vehemently demanded by them, but made vaccination mandatory for the staff of all shops and markets.
- Shops and markets to remain open till 8pm
- Schools to reopen for grades 9 and above
- Outdoor dining allowed till midnight
- Marriage halls and outdoor weddings to be allowed after two weeks
- Sea View and other beaches to be reopened
The decision was taken in a meeting of the provincial task force on Covid-19, which also decided to reopen educational institutions for classes nine and above from June 7 (tomorrow) with strict observance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The meeting chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah decided that businesses would be allowed to function till 8pm from Monday (tomorrow) but the staff members of all shops would be required to get inoculated against Covid-19.
"The vaccination certificates of shops' staff will be checked after 15 days," Shah was quoted as saying in a statement.
Earlier this week, all trade-related associations of Karachi had decided to defy the Sindh government’s restrictions regarding opening of markets and shops beyond 6pm and announced that they would open all their businesses till 8pm from Saturday.
Today's Covid task force meeting also decided that restaurants would be allowed to remain open for outdoor dining until midnight while ensuring social distancing between diners.
Marriage halls and outdoor weddings will be allowed after two weeks, while beauty salons will also be allowed to reopen with SOPs.
The meeting also gave the green light to reopen Sea View and other beaches.
The meeting was informed that the positivity rate in Karachi on June 5 was 8.5 per cent, while it was 12.45pc on June 1. The positivity in Hyderabad on June 5 was 11.06pc.
It was told that there were currently 79 patients on ventilators in Karachi and two in Shaheed Benazirabad.
During the meeting, Chief Minister Shah gave the target to the provincial health department to vaccinate 18 million people within the next three months.
Earlier in the day, Shah announced that all teaching and non-teaching staff at educational institutions would have to be vaccinated if schools were to reopen.
He said all shopkeepers would also have to get vaccinated and keep proofs of their vaccination at their shops.
Shah made these announcements at the inauguration ceremony of a Covid-19 vaccination facility at the Expo Centre in Karachi.
The announcements came in the wake of Sindh reporting 722 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths. The total number of cases in the province now stands at 323,072 and the death toll has risen to 5,116.
Earlier this week, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had said schools in the province would remain closed until the government was certain that coronavirus cases were on the decline.
"This is a numbers game. We have to proceed with caution until the numbers improve and don't want to risk the lives of our children, their parents and relatives," she maintained.
On May 19, the National Command and Operation Centre had allowed the staggered reopening of educational institutions from May 24 in districts where the positivity rate was less than five per cent.
Speaking about vaccination today, Chief Minister Shah said around 15,000 people would be inoculated at the newly inaugurated vaccination facility.
“We want to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he added, announcing that his government would be opening more vaccination centres in the province.
Stressing the importance of vaccination, Shah said, “We are now among countries that are on the [Covid-19 travel] red list.”
He said 70 per cent of Sindh Police personnel had been vaccinated and the provincial government had issued instructions for administering the first dose of vaccine to government employees in June.
Shah once again warned that government employees refusing to be vaccinated would not be paid their salaries from July, and recommended that businesses in the private sector should also introduce such conditions for their employees.
The chief minister lauded frontline health workers on the occasion and appealed to citizens to cooperate with the authorities so that Covid-19 could be controlled as soon as possible.
No decision regarding promotion without exams
Earlier today, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said the provincial government had nothing to do with any announcement that students in grades one to eight would be promoted without exams this year.
Speaking to the media after inaugurating a coronavirus vaccination centre at the Bantva Anis Hospital, Ghani said the Sindh government had stated that education institutions would be reopened "when the Covid-19 situation improves".
He said the provincial government had to take some "difficult" decisions due to increasing Covid cases, but stressed that these were meant for the health and safety of the public.
"But sadly some political parties are provoking the public for political point-scoring on these decisions," Ghani added.