Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has urged citizens to refrain from visiting their relatives on Eidul Fitr in light of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
Last year, the caseload increased by 30 per cent, said Shah, adding that such an increase in coronavirus infections would be dangerous this time. "I would urge all the people to stay home and enjoy Eid with their immediate family members - this is the only way to contain the virus and save others."
The CM was chairing a meeting of the provincial Task Force on their Coronavirus.
The meeting concluded that the sharp increase in cases was due to the violation of coronavirus-mandated standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The meeting decided to permit takeaway service by restaurants across the province. However, eateries have been directed to ensure that neither indoor nor outdoor seating is offered. Restaurants have been barred from laying out seating arrangements and have been directed to deliver the food to the vehicles that come to collect.
Adherence to SOPs was stressed. The meeting warned that restaurants and eateries would be sealed in case of violations.
The provincial government had earlier restricted restaurants from offering takeaway services past 6pm and only home deliveries had been allowed.
The meeting decided that vaccination centres would remain operational throughout the Eid holidays.
The Sindh health department apprised that it has received 8,62,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, 11,000 doses of Casino, 80,000 doses of Sinovac and 107500 doses of AstraZeneca. All the received doses have been delivered to vaccination centres, the meeting was told.
At the onset of the meeting, the participants were apprised that last year Eid was celebrated on May 24 and the 846 fresh infections were recorded, with the positivity ratio at 15 per cent. Not long after the festivities, a steady increase in the positivity ratio was observed and within 18 days, the number of positive infections had reached 3038, the meeting was apprised.
Moreover, Sindh Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi informed that this Ramazan as well a rise in coronavirus infections has been observed.
In the first week, from April 12 to May 9, the detection rate was at 4.71 per cent and 23 coronavirus fatalities were reported, the following week the detection rate rose to 6.31 per cent and 43 fatalities were recorded, he said. In line with the rising trend, the third week of Ramazan saw a detection rate of 6.96 per cent and 62 fatalities. Both figures increased to 7.08 per cent and 64, respectively, in the fourth week, added Jatoi.
Elaborating further, he apprised that 370,096 tests were conducted during Ramazan and 23,551 positive cases were detected. At least 192 persons succumbed to the virus during Ramazan, he added.
According to the Sindh health department, the month of Ramazan last year had seen 15,554 coronavirus infections and 250 fatalities. Like this year, the caseload and death toll had increased steadily during the holy month in 2020 as well. As many as 103,433 tests had been conducted in Ramazan last year.
The meeting concluded that the reason behind the increase in infections was the violation of SOPs.
Meanwhile, sharing district-wise data, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said that in the past week a positivity ratio of 23 per cent was recorded in Karachi's East district, 15 per cent in South district, and 11 per cent in Central district. The positivity ratio in Malir and West districts remained at six per cent and in Korangi it was recorded at five per cent.
Hyderabad saw a positivity ratio of 11 per cent, Dadu nine per cent, Sukkur, Larkana and Ghotki six per cent and Mirpurkhas four percent. The positivity ratio was recorded at three per cent in Thatta and as much in Kashmore, Badin and Khairpur, said the minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2021.