Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has refuted media reports that quoted Sindh Chief Syed Minister Murad Ali Shah as saying that lockdown imposed to curb spread of Covid-19 would be lifted across the province from Monday.
“Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has categorically said that Sindh was not ending the lockdown on Monday and “we are entering the second phase of lockdown with some extra restrictions, particularly at hotspots,” the PPP chief wrote on his official Twitter handle on Friday.
“Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has categorically said that Sindh was not ending the lockdown on Monday and “we are entering the second phase of lockdown with some extra restrictions, particularly at hotspots.” he said 1/8— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 8, 2020
“In a statement issued from the CM House, the chief minister said that some media channels were giving the impression that the lockdown was ending on Monday, which was totally wrong. CM said ‘we are entering phase-II under which stricter controls at hotspots were being initiated’,” he clarified in a series of tweets.
Bilawal urges Centre to act immediately to ward off fresh locust attack
The statement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the National Coordination Committee (NCC) with the consensus of all provincial governments had decided to end the coronavirus-induced lockdown in different phases starting from May 9.
Under the second phase, Bilawal said, “minor exemptions will be given to some sectors such as construction phase-2, and isolated shops in neighbourhoods would be allowed to operate under standard operating procedures issued by the government”.
However, minor exemptions will be given to some sectors such as construction phase-2, and isolated shops in neighbourhoods would be allowed to operate under SOPs issued by the government.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 8, 2020
He categorically added that air, train and public transport would continue to remain closed
“He [Sindh CM] categorically added that air, train and public transport would continue to remain closed.”
The chief minister concluding his statement once again reiterated his stance of ensuring food security in the country under which the federal government had to start spray against desert locust, otherwise next crop would not be saved from [locust] swarm attacks, he said.8/8— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) May 8, 2020
Earlier in the day, while addressing a press conference in Karachi, CM Shah had said Sindh is on board with the federal government’s plan to ease the lockdown and the decisions announced by the NCC will be implemented.
“The decisions announced by the federal government will be fully implemented in Sindh,” he added.
Lockdown in Sindh to be eased along federal govt's directions, says CM Shah
The Centre and Sindh have been at odds over the measures to flatten the coronavirus curve and had unleashed a barrage of criticism against each other. The province is pushing for a strict lockdown while the federal government wants to ease restrictions taking into account their impact on the economy and the lives of the poor.
The Sindh chief minister said shops in residential areas would reopen from Saturday. However, he added, the restrictions on shopping malls, wedding halls, hotels, restaurants and all kinds of public gatherings would remain in place.
"These guidelines will remain in place till May 31 in accordance with the federal government’s directives and we are ready to comply with them."
He appealed to citizens to remain at home as much as possible despite the lifting of the lockdown and wear a mask if they had to leave.
Shah maintained that the provincial government was not competing against anyone and stressed the need for all stakeholders to work together.