With 261 fatalities recorded in the province this month, the Sindh government further tighten Covid-19 restrictions on Monday. Among other measures, a ban has been imposed on unnecessary movement after 8pm from today (Tuesday) onwards.
Those who have to avail medical services or are out for a necessary task would be permitted to travel, however.
Chairing a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on the Coronavirus, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah observed that nearly half of the active cases in the country are in Sindh alone.
As the third wave of the pandemic sweeps through Sindh, the meeting was apprised that 261 coronavirus-related fatalities have been reported in May thus far.
The past week - May 17 to 23 - saw 19 deaths in Karachi' East district alone, nine in South and 12 in Central district. At least 22 deaths were recorded in Hyderabad, where a positivity ratio of over 10 per cent was over, the meeting was briefed.
With 154 fatalities reported in April and 151 in March, May's death toll stands much higher, the meeting was told.
Between Sunday and Monday, Sindh detected 1,529 fresh infections, Punjab detected 802, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 470, Islamabad 106, Gilgit Baltistan 18, Balochistan 66 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 69, told officials.
Ban on movement
Hearing these figures the CM remarked that the province has the highest number of cases.
Warning of further restrictions, he stressed on the implementation of coronavirus-mandated standard operating procedures (SOPs). He directed the district administrations to ensure implementation of SOPs and the related restrictions. "I'll personally pay surprise visits around the city to inspect implementation."
Commercial activity has been restricted to 6pm, citizens will have two hours to return to their homes, said Shah.
"After 8pm the police will place barriers on roads to discourage unnecessary public movement," he added, directing district administrations to switch off lights in jogging parks by 8pm.
Only people heading out for medical needs or for necessary tasks will be permitted to travel past 8pm, said the CM, urging citizens to stay home.
If people cooperate and cases reduce in two weeks, restrictions may be eased, he added.
Meanwhile, Sindh reported 16 more fatalities and over 900 fresh infections on Monday.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister's House, 910 more persons were diagnosed with Covid when 11,388 samples were tested.
The pandemic has claimed at least 4,936 lives in the province thus far and a total of 310,540 infections have been recorded.
As many as 282,410 persons, including 814 between Sunday and Monday, have also recovered from the infection, said the CM.
At least 23,194 persons are under treatment for Covid, he elaborated further. Of these, 22,229 are in home isolation, 22 at isolation centres and 943 are admitted at different hospitals. The condition of 897 patients is critical, with at least 68 shifted to ventilators, added Shah.
Of the 910 new cases, 502 were detected in Karachi - 241 from East district, 1,174 from Central, 85 from South, 38 from Korangi, 16 from West and eight from Malir district.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad reported 116 new cases, Tando Allahyar 29, Badin 27, Shaheed Benazirabad 26, Dadu and Larkana 23 each, Jamshore 18, Kashmore reported as many, Khairpur and Mirpurkhas each reported 17, Thatta 16, Naushero Feroze 15, Ghotki 12, Matiari 11, Jacobabad 10, Sanghar nine, Umerkot eight, Sukkur three and Tando Muhammad Khan reported one new case.
Covid restrictions currently in place
Commercial activities permitted from 5am to 6pm, including pharmacies and super stores. Bakeries and milk shops may remain open till midnight
Movement of citizens, barring medical and other emergencies, past 8pm has been restricted
Public transport - intercity, intracity and interprovincial - permitted but at 50 per cent occupancy and with Covid-related SOPs
Both indoor and outdoor dining has been banned. However, delivery, takeaway and drive-through services are allowed
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All educational institutions, including schools, colleges and varsities, are to remain closed for another two weeks
Fridays and Sunday businesses will remain closed across the province, except in Hyderabad, which will observe Fridays and Saturdays as closed days instead
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2021.