A Reuters file photo of Karachi seaview.

Sindh edges towards virus lockdown

However, grocery and medical stores will remain open, says official statement

Hafeez Tunio March 17, 2020
KARACHI: In a bid to implement social distancing measures, the Sindh government has taken drastic measures under which all restaurants, shopping malls, food streets, public parks and Seaview beach will remain closed from tomorrow (March 18) for 15 days to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision was taken in a coronavirus task force meeting headed by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and attended by all authorities concerned as the number of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 has surpassed 170 in Sindh alone.

All government offices will also be shut in the province from March 19 except essential services such as health department, local government offices and others, according to an official statement issued by the Chief Minister House.

However, the official communique said that the closure will not be applicable for the groceries and medical stores.

“All restaurants, malls, shopping centres will be closed in Sindh from tomorrow. Only takeaways & deliveries will be allowed. Section 144 also to be imposed at beach & parks. It is clarified that shopping stores & chemists will remain open. Citizens are once again urged to cooperate,” Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet from his official handle on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that if the coronavirus turns into an outbreak, the situation will become out of control.

“If we fail to take strict measures in time it [coronavirus] is bound to affect the entire province and then our health facilities would fall short to provide medical treatment,” he was quoted as saying during the meeting.

Decision comes after Sindh witnessed a rapid increase in the cases of contagious disease with 172 people, mostly arrived from Iran, tested positive.

In another tweet, the provincial spokesperson also gave details of the cases.

Coronavirus Relief Fund

Moreover, the Sindh government has also established a coronavirus relief fund with the “seed money of Rs3 billion”.

The chief minister, provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants and all Pakistan  Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers will contribute their one month salary to the fund, Murtaza Wahab also wrote on his official Twitter handle.

According to a notification issued by the Office of the Commissioner Karachi, all general stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmaceutical stores, essential food shops such as fruits, vegetables, meat shops, bakeries, milk shops and general stores are excepted from the restriction and will remain open 24 hours.

Home delivery, take-away food items from restaurants are allowed in the local limits of Karachi division, it added.

Sindh govt notification-closures

Inter-city bus service

In another decision, the provincial government decided to discontinue inter-city bus services from Friday (March 20).

“There are two days for visitors to return their respective homes/cities and after that all the inter-city buses would be stopped from operating on their routes,” CM Murad said.

However, intra-city bus service would continue as usual.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ