KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah ordered on Sunday the constitution of a committee to devise the standard operating procedure (SOP) for resuming operations at factories, particularly those manufacturing export goods. The committee is to include health experts, the secretaries of the labour and industries departments and Rangers and police personnel.
Presiding over a meeting, the CM said that at an earlier meeting on Saturday, industrialists, particularly those exporting goods, had requested him to allow them to resume operation in order to fulfil their export orders.
Their concerns were legitimate, genuine and important, he said, adding that a solution needed to be worked out to address the problem.
The meeting, after thorough deliberation, decided to devise an SOP for the purpose.
Following this, the CM directed the home department's additional chief secretary to form a committee comprising medical professionals and experts, secretaries of the labour and industries departments, law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders, to develop the SOP.
The additional chief secretary was further directed to issue a notification in this regard and instruct the committee to consult industrialists on the matter as well.
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As per the directives issued to the additional chief secretary, separate SOPs are to be devised for every sector, including retail and transport. Besides, separate SOPs are to be formulated for Ramazan, in case the lockdown is lifted after April 14, and it will be incumbent on all to abide by them.
Speaking in this regard, the CM commented, "I am keen to allow exporters to resume operations but this is a question of human health and containing the coronavirus, therefore, we have to be careful."
He, however, ordered the home department to devise the SOP for the export industry on a priority basis and then frame the SOPs for other sectors, including social and welfare sectors.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government gave directives on Sunday for government hospitals to shift all coronavirus positive and suspected patients with no or mild symptoms to the field isolation centre established at the Expo Centre in Karachi from Monday (today) onwards.
However, hospital administrations were advised to keep confirmed patients with moderate or severe symptoms at the hospital isolation centres.
The directive was issued under a notification signed by Sindh health department chief technical officer Dr Sikandar Memon.
The head of the Field Isolation Centre Brigade, Muhammad Shehzad Saeed, had written an application to the provincial government, stating that the isolation centre had been set up and all arrangements for treating coronavirus patients had been completed.
Facilities including oxygen, ventilators and other lifesaving equipment are available at the centre.
In another meeting, it emerged that the provincial government has so far utilised Rs285 million from the Coronavirus Emergency Fund that was established under Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah.
A meeting of the fund committee, which includes Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari, Edhi Foundation chairperson Faisal Edhi and philanthropist Mushtaq Chhapra in addition to government officials, approved the amount of Rs285 million, used to establish the Expo Centre field isolation facility.
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The committee also approved Rs5.5 million for the purchase of testing kits and necessary equipment for the testing and treatment of coronavirus patients.
The meeting was told that Rs3.551 billion had been donated to the fund so far, with contributions from government entities as well as private sources.
The committee is meant to roll out measures for the rehabilitation, long-term welfare and financial well-being of those affected by the pandemic and their families.
The chief secretary maintained that each and every rupee in the fund would be spent solely on the committee's recommendation, while the utilisation would be audited by leading auditors.