Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: FILE

Sindh moves to block SIMs of unvaccinated citizens

Country’s caseload from pandemic tops 1m mark

Hafeez Tunio July 23, 2021

Worried and under pressure from the rising trend of coronavirus cases, the Sindh government decided on Friday to take stringent measures against the people who had not yet got the anti-Covid vaccine.

Amid fears of a fourth wave of the pandemic driven by the Indian variant called ‘Delta’, the country passed another grim milestone, with the national tally of the infectious disease since it first broke out in February 2020, crossed 1 million mark during the Eidul Azha holidays.

Most of the new Covid cases have been detected in Sindh in recent weeks. In order to stem the trend and promote vaccination, the government decided on Friday to approach the federal government to block the mobile phone SIMs of those who had not yet received the vaccine shot.

“Sindh Govt has decided to write to NCOC & PTA that mobile sims [subscriber’s identity modules] of unvaccinated people should be blocked,” Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, a spokesperson for the provincial government tweeted.

Officials said that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had asked the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to communicate its proposal to the telecommunication authority – the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Murad further said that the salaries of those government employees, who had not got themselves vaccinated, would he withheld. In this regard, the chief minister directed the provincial finance secretary to contact the Sindh advocate general in this regard.

Furthermore, the provincial officials agreed to impose a ban on wedding ceremonies and other gatherings as well as closing down shrines. It had also been decided to restrict the timings of shopping malls and markets.

Meanwhile, the national tally of active Covid cases reached 53,623, as 1,425 more people tested positive for virus while 543 people recovered from the disease during the last 24 hours, the NCOC said in its daily update. The national positivity ratio was 5.65%.

It said that 11 patients died over the past 24 hours, all of whom were under treatment in hospitals, including 3 on ventilators. According to the update, 2,525 patients were under treatment in critical condition in various Covid-dedicated healthcare facilities.

As of Friday, the country’s caseload from the disease stood at 1,000,034 cases, including 923,472 people making full recovery from the disease. The nationwide death toll from the pandemic rose to 22,939.


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