Sindh mulls lockdown amid Covid surge

Over 2,000 infections confirmed for fourth consecutive day, 43 fatalities recorded


Our Correspondent July 29, 2021

KARACHI:

The Sindh government has decided to impose further restrictions, particularly in the metropolis, as coronavirus cases balloon. On Wednesday, the province reported 2,672 fresh infections and 43 deaths - both record high figures with the former being the highest since June 30, 2020, when 2,701 cases were confirmed and the latter being reportedly the highest single-day death toll in recent months.

Sources within the government say that based on recommendations by the Sindh health department, the provincial government plans to urge the National Command and Operating Centre (NCOC) to impose a 15-day lockdown in cities where the positivity rate is past 20 per cent.

In Karachi, the positivity ratio is touching 30 per cent, say sources. A meeting of the provincial task force on the coronavirus has been called tomorrow (Friday) to review the situation and decide on further restrictions.

The Sindh government also reportedly plans on urging the NCOC to ban land and air travel to help curb the spread of the virus.

Virus tally

According to a statement issued by the Sindh Chief Minister's House, 2,672 persons were diagnosed with the coronavirus when 20,438 tests were conducted, indicating an overall positivity ratio of 13 per cent.

With 43 deaths, one of the highest single-day death tolls recorded in the province, the provincial death toll rose to 5,903, said CM Syed Murad Ali Shah.

"This situation is enough to assess the severity of the pandemic in the fourth wave, therefore we have to be alert to control the situation," he said.

Sindh has confirmed 374,417 infections thus far out of which 330,836 patients, including 670 overnight, have recovered.

As many as 37,678 patients were under treatment for the infection in Sindh. Of them, 36,292 were in home isolation, 1,341 at different hospitals and 45 in isolation centers. The condition of 1,181 patients was stated to be critical, with at least 93 shifted to ventilators.

Out of the 2,672 new cases, 2,042 were detected in Karachi.

Increasing ventilators, oxygen beds

Read More: Punjab to go into lockdown

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has decided to enhance the capacity of government hospitals in Karachi given the surge of cases.

The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday.

The health department apprised that there are currently 398 ventilators for Covid-19 patients in public hospitals in Karachi. Besides, there are 906 high dependency unit beds and 293 low oxygen beds. The Sindh health secretary informed the meeting that all medical superintendents have been empowered to recruit staff and purchase equipment as required to meet the Covid caseload at these hospitals.

Stating that the current situation was one of emergency and that the healthcare system was under pressure, the chief secretary directed that doctors and paramedical staff be recruited for 89 days.

Around 32 more ventilators, 110 HDU beds and 40 low flow beds will be installed at hospitals in Karachi by August 4, he said, adding that another eight ventilators and HDU beds for children will be installed at the Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The chief secretary directed the health secretary to enhance the isolation centre at Expo Centre by installing 100 more HDU beds and directed the Karachi commissioner and Malir DC to set up a 100-bed isolation centre in Malir for passengers arriving from abroad.

Moreover, oxygen tanks are being constructed in Karachi's hospitals, said Mumtaz, directing the finance department to release funds as needed by the hospitals.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2021.

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