KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to impose a complete lockdown in the province for the third consecutive week from 12 noon to 3pm on Friday, to stem the spread of coronavirus as the number of Covid-19 cases have crossed 2,000 with 45 deaths.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announced the decision on Thursday after meeting a delegation of ulema, led by Mufti Muneebur Rehman, who is also a chairman of Ruet-e-Hilal committee.
He thanked the religious scholars for supporting the government's efforts to stem the spread of highly-contagious disease.
"I want you to support us on Friday in observing a complete lockdown from noon to 3pm," he requested, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan would also meet with ulema to decide the standard operating procedure for mosques.
علماء نے وزیراعلیٰ سندھ سے مکمل تعاون کی یقین دہانی کروائی.— Sameer Mandhro (@smendhro) April 16, 2020
وزیراعلیٰ سندھ نے کل 12 تا 3 بجے تک سخت لاک ڈائون کا اعلان کردیا. pic.twitter.com/jHKWxvdLuR
He urged mosque-goers to continue to pray at home in the meantime, while directing Sindh police chief Mushtaq Mahar to take measures to ensure the implementation on government's lockdown measures.
Acknowledging the severity of the crisis, the ulema said they had extended support to the government in view of the unprecedented challenge and would continue to do so.
Earlier in the day, while addressing a press conference in Sukkur, the CM said the provincial government had been receiving mixed signals with regard to the ban on congregational prayers in mosques.
However, he expressed hope that the government and ulema would reach a consensus and form a joint strategy for the upcoming month of Ramazan.
On Tuesday, prominent ulema and religious leaders including Mufti Muneeb had announced that the coronavirus lockdown will not be applicable to the mosques and faithfuls would offer congregational prayers.
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