Amid Covid uptick, Sindh again imposes ‘lockdown’

DailyTimes  |  Jul 24, 2021

In a bid to control the burgeoning cases of Covid-19 in the province, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Friday decided to close the indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and marriage halls as well as shrines, recreational spots and educational institutions from July 26.

Presiding over a meeting of provincial task force on coronavirus, the chief minister said the takeaway service would continue with certain standard operating procedures. He said the exception has been given only to those educational institutions where examinations are taking place. The business timings of markets would also be reduced from 6am to 6pm from Monday, he said, adding that pharmacies, bakeries and groceries will operate as usual but there will be two safe/closed days – Friday and Sunday. He said the government and private offices will remain functional but with 50 percent staff attendance, except for departments/organizations of essential services.

The chief minister said on July 16, the positivity ratio was 14.27 percent in the metropolis which went on increasing to 21.54 percent on July 22. “This is an alarming situation, and it should be controlled timely, otherwise, it may go out of the control,” he said.

The chief minister also said that the provincial government would send a letter to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in order to block the SIMs of unvaccinated citizens. He said the PTA should send messages to citizens, urging them to get vaccinated and those who still did not get vaccinated within a span of a week, their SIMs should be blocked.

Shah directed the relevant officials to communicate the decision to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). He said the government would decide next month about not issuing salaries to unvaccinated government employees. In this regard, he directed the Sindh finance secretary to contact the Sindh advocate general.

The national tally on Friday of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded at 53,623 as 1,425 more people tested positive for the virus and 543 people recovered from the disease. Eleven patients died on Friday, all of whom were under treatment in hospitals, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. Most of the deaths occurred in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), followed by Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Out of the total 11 deaths, three were under treatment on ventilators. There are 2,525 Covid-infected patients under treatment in critical condition in various healthcare facilities. The national Covid positivity ratio during past 24 hours was recorded 5.65 percent.

The Covid positivity ratio is the percentage of actual positive cases appearing in every 100 tests performed to identify infected individuals.

The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major cities including Islamabad 22%, Lahore 19%, Peshawar 17% and Multan 15%. Around 254 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no COVID affected person was on ventilator in Balochistan, and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). Some 25,215 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, including 9,875 in Sindh, 8,970 in Punjab, 3,464 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 1,174 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 665 in Balochistan, 637 in GB, and 430 in AJK.

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