Town sealed in Sindh after emergence of six cases

Infected persons were screened at GIMS, without notifying district administration

Z Ali May 06, 2020
HYDERABAD: Old Saeedabad town in Matiari district was sealed on Tuesday, following the emergence of six positive cases, which were tested at a health facility in Khairpur district without notifying the district administration. The sudden surfacing of the cases created panic in the town after which deputy commissioner (DC) Ghulam Hyder Chandio asked polio workers to immediately seal the locality.

Meanwhile, the infected persons were shifted to an isolation center set up on Sindh Small Industries' premises in Hala town.

According to a complaint submitted regarding the matter by the DC to Hyderabad commissioner Muhammad Abbass Baloch on Tuesday, the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), Khairpur, screened 19 residents of Matiari among whom seven tested positive some days ago. Six of them belonged to Old Saeedabad and one to Matiari town.

"The district administration learned through the electronic media that a new positive case had surfaced in Matiari, diagnosed at the molecular lab at GIMS," the DC wrote, pointing out to the commissioner that the GIMS neither informed the district administration nor the dashboard of Sindh health services director general about the cases.

"… [it] caused an alarming situation in the jurisdiction of Saeedabad taluka… and [safety of the] general public of the entire district is put at risk," the DC stated.

Although the diagnostic and research lab of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences in Hyderabad is far more closer to Matiari district than GIMS, but those 19 persons chose to get tested at the latter.

According to the DC neither those persons nor the GIMS informed the administration about the tests.

The total number of positive cases in the small district has now increased to 14, including one death.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who has also contracted the coronavirus, visited Matiari on April 22. He held a meeting at the deputy commissioner's office, visited an Ehsas Kifalat Programme distribution centre and attended a private gathering hosted by a local politician Abdul Razzak Memon.

The district administration had prepared a list of 66 persons who attended the private gathering for testing. After governor's visit, Saeedabad assistant commissioner, his family and a peon were tested positive. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2020.

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