KARACHI: In view of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the province, particularly in Karachi, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday constituted a committee to sensitise all the stakeholders — shopkeepers, traders, transporters and politicians — to cooperate with the government in the larger interest of public health.
He took this decision while presiding over a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus here at CM House.
The chief minister observed that some political circles were issuing what he called irresponsible statements against closure of markets or other activities. He said he was taking strict measures just to save people of the province from the pandemic.
Murad asks people to avoid leaving their homes without any valid reason
He constituted a committee comprising Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Industries Minister Jam Ikram Dharejo, Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah and Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab with the task to meet with all the stakeholders, including politicians, and sensitise them about the alarming Covid situation.
Closure of tuition centres, gyms ordered
CM Shah reviewed the overall coronavirus situation and termed it ‘alarming’.
He directed the city commissioner and city police chief to ensure timely closure of markets.
He also directed them to close tuition centres and private gyms, which were still operating in the city in violation of the Covid-related restrictions.
He urged the people of the province to stay home and avoid going out without any valid reason.
Briefing the meeting, Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi said that the Covid-19 detection ratio in the province had reached 12.7 per cent, which was the highest in the fourth wave. He said that in Karachi the detection rate was recorded at 26.32pc on July 26.
“This is quite a critical situation,” the CM said.
The meeting was told that during the last one week, from July 19 to 25, Covid-19 detection ratio in Karachi East was 33pc, Korangi 21pc, Central 20pc, West 19pc, Malir and South 17pc each.
The meeting was informed that during July 362 people died of coronavirus, of them 64pc, or 233, were on ventilators, 23pc, or 85, off ventilators and 13pc, or 44 persons, were at their homes.
Covid facilities being increased
The CM reviewed the available facilities at government hospitals and decided to declare some more government hospitals as Covid facilities.
Reviewing ventilator facilities at government hospitals, the CM was told that out of 686 ICU beds with ventilators 76 were occupied and out of total 1,547 HDU beds 690 were occupied.
As hospitals were coming under pressure, the CM directed the health secretary to make Covid-19 facilities at three hospitals of the labour department, Police Hospital, the Liaquatabad and New Karachi hospitals and establish a “marquee-type arrangement” at the Services and Korangi hospitals.
He was told that Covid ward had been established at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where 10 patients were admitted.
He directed the health secretary to provide technical staff to the Covid facilities where required.
Sharing the situation in major cities of the country, the meeting was told that Muzaffarabad had two patients on ventilators, Islamabad 23, Peshawar 21, Lahore 81, Multan 18 and Karachi 76.
The chief minister directed the health department to conduct more coronavirus tests in the city and trace the contacts of the infected person so that its further spread could be contained.
The meeting was informed that the provincial government had received 6.9 million doses of different vaccines, of them 5.6m had been utilised.
The task force meeting was attended among others by provincial ministers Nasir Shah and Dharejo, Law Adviser Wahab, Karachi Commissioner Navid Shaikh, Health Secretary Jatoi, Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences Dr Saeed Qureshi, representatives of Corps-5, Rangers and other organisations.
Meets hospitals’ CEOs
Later, the chief minister held a meeting with the chief executive officers of some private hospitals and urged them to upgrade their Covid-related facilities.
The private hospitals’ CEOs briefed him about the facilities they had set up for Covid-19 patients and also told him about their efforts in the vaccination drive.
The CM directed the health secretary to make a WhatsApp group with private hospitals for close coordination and guidance.
Published in Dawn, July 28th , 2021