Sindh govt eases Covid restrictions till Aug 31

Published August 9, 2021
A man walks with a motorbike next to closed shops at a commercial area in Karachi on August 8. — AFP
A man walks with a motorbike next to closed shops at a commercial area in Karachi on August 8. — AFP

• Markets, business activities to continue till 8pm
• Indoor dining banned, takeaway allowed
• Shrines, cinemas, parks to remain closed
• Indoor cultural, religious gatherings disallowed

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Sunday lifted the week-long lockdown, relaxing the coronavirus restrictions from Monday (today) till Aug 31 in the province.

As per the new set of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), all business activities would continue till 8pm. However, the restriction will not apply to pharmacies, petrol pumps, grocery shops and fish, meat, chicken, vegetable and fruit vendors. According to a home department notification, Fridays and Sundays will be closed days.

The new order imposed a complete ban on indoor dining. However, outdoor dining will be allowed for a maximum of 300 guests till 10pm. Takeaway and home delivery are also allowed round the week. It also placed a ban on indoor wedding functions and outdoor functions will be allowed with maximum 300 guests till 10pm.

All shrines and cinemas will remain closed till further order and all types of indoor cultural, musical and religious gatherings were disallowed. Only vaccinated people will be allowed in indoor gyms.

According to the decision, routine working hours of public and private offices will continue, but attendance shall be reduced from 100 per cent to 50pc. Public transport may ply on sanctioned routes with occupancy of 50pc seating capacity with staff duly vaccinated. Railway services will continue to operate with 50pc occupancy.

All amusement parks, water sports and swimming pools will remain closed. However, public parks will remain open under strict Covid-19 protocols.

The notification said a decision about opening of educational institutions, including universities and other degree-awarding institutes, would be taken by the provincial education minister. There will also be a ban on serving meals or snacks during inflight journey for domestic airlines.

According to the order, deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, mukhtiarkars, officers of labour and transport departments, officers-in-charge of police stations and personnel of law enforcement agencies not below the rank of inspector were empowered under Section 3 (1) of the Sindh Epidemic Diseases Act 2014 to take any legal action on any act in contravention of the notification under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860.

It said further legal action could also be taken under relevant labour, industrial, motor vehicle and other applicable laws.

26 Covid patients die

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said a statement on Sunday that 26 more patients of coronavirus died and 1,655 new cases emerged when 17,625 tests were conducted. He added that the death toll had reached 6,215, constituting 1.6pc death rate.

Mr Shah said that 17,625 samples were tested which detected 1,655 cases, constituting 9.4pc current detection rate. He added that so far 5,149,309 tests had been conducted against which 400,383 cases were diagnosed, of them 86.5pc, or 346,416 patients, recovered, including 1,385 overnight.

The chief minister said that currently 47,752 patients were under treatment, of them 46,216 were in home isolation, 45 at isolation centers and 1,491 in different hospitals. He added that the condition of 1,308 patients was stated to be critical, including 107 shifted to ventilators.

He said that out of 1,655 new cases, 1,127 were detected in Karachi, 81 in Hyderabad, 54 in Jamshoro, 42 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 39 in Badin, 34 in Sanghar, 31 in Tharparkar, 29 in Dadu, 25 in Thatta, 22 each in Mirpurkhas, Sujawal and Tando Allahyar, 21 in Khairpur, 19 in Matiari, 18 in Naushahro Feroze, 12 each in Tando Muhammad Khan and Umerkot, five in Ghotki, four in Kashmore and two in Sukkur.

CM Shah urged people to follow Covid-related SOPs issued by the government.

Sharing vaccination data, he said 7,746,882 vaccines had been administered up to Aug 6, with 272,045 inoculated over the past 24 hours. “In total 8,018,927 vaccines have been administered which constituted 23.41pc of the vaccine eligible population,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2021

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