Sindh tightens restrictions as cases surge after Eid

Shops across province to remain open till 6pm; CM says schools to only reopen once spread under control


Our Correspondent May 23, 2021
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced on Sunday that restrictions were being tightened in the province in view of increasing coronavirus cases, adding that SOPs cannot be relaxed at the moment.

"We successfully overcame the first wave of the virus," Murad said while addressing a press conference along with medical experts and representatives of doctors' organisations.

"Covid-19 positivity ratio in Karachi is more than 13% as we deal with the third wave of coronavirus.This shows that the cases are on the rise since Eid, and we are finding it difficult to ease the restrictions in the province," the chief minister maintained.

Restrictions

Announcing measures taken by the provincial government, Murad informed that shops across the province would be open till 6 pm instead of 8 pm; only pharmacies would be allowed to remain open, except for those inside shopping malls.

The minister warned that action will be taken against shop owners in case of violation.

Indoor and outdoor dining will be completely closed, and only takeaways and home deliveries will be allowed. However, the chief minister warned that the permission must not be misused.

A ban on all kinds of events will remain in place, whereas recreational spots, parks and cinema halls will remain closed for the next two weeks.

The meeting further decided that Seaview, Hawkesbay, public parks, except walking tracks, will also remain closed.

As per the earlier decision, grocery stores will be allowed to operate till 6pm while public transports will run with 50 per cent passengers, with severe penalties for violations.

Read Sindh govt tightens restrictions to curb Covid-19 spread

Regarding educational institutions, the task force stated that, "Schools will only be opened when the pandemic is under control".

CM Murad further directed the minister of education to make arrangements for the vaccination of teachers in educational institutions.

The provincial minister added that the coronavirus taskforce consists of representatives of various agencies. He stated that the taskforce has strongly urged the government to be careful.

"We have to be more strict, we cannot relax the SOPs. Restrictions are being stepped up in the face of growing coronavirus cases," Murad said.

On May 22, the Sindh government had decided to retain the current restrictions in the province, amid a surge in the Covid-19 cases, for another two weeks.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the coronavirus taskforce led my Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Murad told the meeting that the highest number of 24,299 samples were tested in Sindh yesterday. As a result, 2136 new cases were reported.

At present the positivity ratio in Sindh is 8.8 per cent, the chief minister added.

"In Karachi, the ratio remained 13.97." Murad observed.

Provincial Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho told the meeting that there were 1,232 cases on May 13, i.e. Eid, 2,076 cases on May 19 and 2,136 cases on May 21.

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