An AFP illustrative image of Covid-19 testing.

‘Sindh govt trying to increase daily coronavirus testing capacity’

Minister says coordinated lockdown will enable the province to get rid of Covid-19

​ Our Correspondent April 17, 2020
KARACHI: The Sindh government is trying to increase its Covid-19 testing capacity to 5,000 tests per day by the end of April, said Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Thursday.

In a statement, Shah disclosed after receiving testing kits from the federal government, the province’s testing capacity had increased from 1,500 to 2,500 per day.

Referring to the provision of sub-standard kits, he claimed it was not the provincial government, but medical professionals at Aga Khan University Hospital and the Indus Hospital who had deemed them inadequate.

Shah further stated that the priority of the Sindh government was to ensure that its people are safe from the pandemic, and it was willing to take any difficult decisions to ensure this.

He added that the provincial government was fully aware of the problems faced by citizens, but had made the decision to lock down the whole province out of compulsion. “If we [Sindh] succeed in a fully organised and coordinated lockdown, we will soon be able to get rid of this pandemic,” he asserted.

The minister maintained that the provincial government had given great consideration to the problems faced by the business community, and especially small businessmen. He added that a set of standard operating procedures were being developed where businesses could be opened without spreading coronavirus.

Shah also thanked the ulema for their cooperation, adding that it had helped make the lockdown more effective. He claimed that the Sindh Chief Minister was of the view that whenever the lockdown is lifted, or relaxed, the first consideration would be given to the opening of mosques.

He added that in this regard, consultations with religious scholars were underway. “If we take precautions for a few days, we will survive a long period of struggle.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2020.