Sindh health dept proposes shutting down primary schools as Covid-19 positivity rate jumps to 14pc in Karachi

Published July 12, 2021
Students wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus arrive at a primary school in this file photo. — AFP
Students wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus arrive at a primary school in this file photo. — AFP

The Sindh health department on Monday proposed shutting down primary schools in the province as well as banning indoor dining as the coronavirus positivity rate climbed to seven per cent in Sindh and 14pc in Karachi.

It further proposed keeping businesses closed for two days, instead of the one safe day a week currently being enforced.

The proposals were made during a meeting on the coronavirus situation, headed by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, his spokesperson Farhat Imtiaz said. The proposals would be presented in the next meeting of the provincial task force on Covid-19, he said.

The meeting was also attended by the additional chief secretary of Sindh Home Department, secretary of health, and all divisional and deputy commissioners.

During the meeting, Shah said that all marriage halls, cattle markets, shops and restaurants where coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being violated would be sealed.

He also directed the Karachi commissioner to impose smart lockdowns in areas with a large number of cases.

The meeting was informed that 3.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far. The vaccines were being administered at 647 centres and through 347 mobile teams, it was further stated.

"All commissioners and deputy commissioners should reach their vaccination targets," the chief secretary instructed, adding that all steps should be taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi.

He also directed that the number of mobile vaccination teams be increased.

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The proposals came hours after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said the government would use whatever administrative help is required, including the Pakistan Army's, to ensure compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He added that smart lockdowns would also be used again and "we think there are controls and restrictions needed on mobility as well."

Last week, the Sindh government had imposed further curbs on unvaccinated people to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including stopping them from getting treatment or major surgeries at hospitals.

In an official announcement, the Sindh health department had said people would not be allowed to visit even outdoor patients department (OPD) of hospitals without a vaccination certificate.

"Those who are vaccinated would be allowed to avail facility of elective surgeries," said Sindh Director General Health Dr Irshad Memon.

"For medical services at both public and private hospitals, Covid-19 vaccination certificate is mandatory. For test and interviews for jobs, candidates should show their Covid-19 vaccination certificates. All public and private institutions would be responsible to check Covid-19 vaccination certificates," the announcement said.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had earlier directed the finance ministry to stop the salaries from July of government employees who refused vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

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