Pakistan News

Murad backs centre’s proposal to extend countrywide lockdown till 14th

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah supported on Wednesday the federal government’s proposal to extend the countrywide lockdown till April 14.

Participating in a meeting presided over by the prime minister on the coronavirus issue through video link, the chief minister, however, said that if the federal government was opening flight operations, it would have to develop a standard operating procedure for testing every passenger at the airport and make necessary arrangements for their quarantine.

The chief minister brushed aside the impression that he had also banned goods transport. “No and not at all, the goods transport operation is in progress throughout the lockdown,” he said.

Mr Shah said that he had already taken necessary measures for food security. “The Sindh food department has started procurement of wheat from last Monday and we have set a target of procuring 1.4 million tonnes of wheat,” he said.

Cases of local transmission increasing, meeting told

He said that the business and industry related to medicines and food was in operation. “Yes, there must be some problems because we are passing through an extraordinary situation but simultaneously we keep solving the problems, if and when they are pointed out,” he said.

Number of virus cases

The number of coronavirus cases in the province rose on Wednesday to 676, including 274 in Karachi, and 338 of local transmission, which constituted 50 per cent of the total cases.

This emerged in a meeting of the task force on coronavirus. The meeting was presided over by Murad Ali Shah at the CM House. It was attended among others by provincial ministers Syed Nasir Husain Shah, Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Imtiaz Sheikh, Adviser Murtaza Wahab, CM’s Coordinator Haris Gazdar and Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah.

The meeting was told that so far 6,578 samples had been tested. Of them, 5,742 were found negative and 676 positive (till 4.30pm). Out of the 676 cases, 373 are in Karachi, 265 in Sukkur, one in Dadu, 128 in Hyderabad, seven in Larkana, two in Jamshoro and one in Jacobabad.

The meeting was informed that the local transmission in the province had been recorded at 343, and 63 cases had travel history. At present 229 people are in home isolation, 27 patients of travel history and local transmission have been cured. Twenty-three pilgrims have also recovered and eight died while 47 are under treatment in different hospitals of Karachi and 93 others in Hyderabad.

The CM said the local transmission cases were 338, constituting 50 per cent of the tested cases. This showed that the local transmission was aggravating, he said.

He was also told that the government hospitals had reported 1,874 pneumonia cases, of which 124 were tested for corona and private hospitals reported 702 cases and 27 of them were also tested. The government is also focusing on severe pneumonia cases so that the threat of Covid-19 could be tackled properly.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2020

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