KARACHI: Expressing worry over the growing numbers of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah ordered on Saturday the establishment of fully-equipped 14 critical care units (CCUs) across Sindh, including one in Karachi.
Addressing a coronavirus taskforce meeting, the CM said that the increase in the rate of local transmission of the virus was “worrisome” and needed to be contained, stressing the need for “strengthening the healthcare system during the ongoing lockdown.”
According to details shared with the CM during the meeting, Sindh’s coronavirus tally has climbed to 469, of which 132 are locally transmitted. At least 25 new cases were reported in Karachi on the day, with four more in Hyderabad.
Hence, he ordered the health department to establish 14 CCUs, equipped with ventilators, monitors, pulse oximeters, suction machines, defibrillators and compressors, across the province.
As per the CM’s orders, the CCU unit in Karachi is to house between 100 to 200 beds and 13 CCUs housing 600 beds are to be established elsewhere in Sindh. As many as 850 medical officers, 1,320 nurses, technicians and auxiliary staff are to be deployed at the CCUs.
Particularly referring to the CCUs to be set up in Karachi, the CM said that the facility was to have 200 ventilators, 200 monitors, 200 pulse oximeters, 50 suction machines, 20 defibrillators and 50 compressors, besides 100 doctors, 200 nurses, 75 technicians and 120 auxiliary staff members.
He was later told that 45 hospitals in the province had COVID-19 isolation wards. These hospitals collectively housed 505 beds and 294 patients had been admitted to the facilities so far, of which 14 had recovered and sent home and conditions of 291 were stable, he was informed.
The meeting was informed that of the 469 cases so far reported in Sindh, 189 belonged to Karachi, seven to Larkana, as many to Hyderabad, one to Dadu and 265 were those kept at isolation facilities in Sukkur.
Since the emergence of the virus in Sindh, 5,322 samples have been tested, of which 4,835 have been cleared of the infection and 469 declared positive.
“The data shows that the number of locally transmitted cases has soared to 132… or 25 per cent of the total cases,” which was “worrisome” and the spread needed to be curbed, he said, sounding an alarm.
Briefing the CM on lockdown measures, Sindh IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar said that all shopkeepers were informed that they were to close their shops by 5pm, adding that police began patrolling at 4pm to ensure that all shops were closed by 5pm.
“Everything is being carried out smoothly,” he assured the CM.
However, the CM instructed the Sindh IGP to ensure that while implementing lockdown measures, no person was insulted or humiliated. “Politely inform citizens to return to their homes and you may only use force in case of resistance. Otherwise, ensure that you don’t harm anyone’s dignity and hurt no children,” he said.