KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has urged the people of the province to follow social distancing guidelines and avoid unnecessary meetings to curb the spread of novel coronavirus as the provincial tally rose to 103 on Monday.
“You have to adopt voluntary isolation... this the only solution to contain coronavirus,” he said while addressing a press conference in Karachi on Monday.
His statement comes as 68 more pilgrims, who returned from a largely mismanaged tent city at Taftan -- a town along the Iranian border in Balochistan -- were tested positive for COVID-19 in Sukkur, bringing the total number of cases to 136 in Pakistan.
This is the single largest increase in novel coronavirus cases in the country as of today.
He also expressed annoyance over reports that people are still thronging restaurants and roadside food stalls, asking citizens to take self-isolation steps.
“... otherwise I would have no option but to close restaurants, hotels, and all such places,” he added.
Sindh confirms 68 new coronavirus cases, national tally hits 136
CM Murad said he has directed police and the local administration to carve out a plan to control large gatherings or give notices to the restaurants to close their facilities by 9pm.
“I’ll take final decision [in this connection] very soon,” he said.
Dispelling rumours about a possible lockdown in the province, the chief minister said grocery shops cannot be shut under any circumstances and urged the shoppers not to hoard groceries.
“I am surprised that people have started stocking groceries,” he said
He also directed authorities to launch a crackdown against shopkeepers, who are selling overpriced sanitizers and tissue papers.
Assuring the pilgrims, who returned from Taftan last week and placed in isolation in Sukkur, of the government’s support, the chief minister directed the officials to provide their families with necessary food items free of charge.
As of now, there are 103 confirmed cases in Sindh, 15 in K-P, 10 in Balochistan, three in Gilgit-Baltistan, four in Islamabad and one in Punjab.
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