Covid-19: tougher curbs in Sindh
The rampaging Delta variant forces Sindh govt to toughen the restrictions on activities across the province
The rampaging Delta variant of the coronavirus has forced the Sindh government to toughen the restrictions on activities across the province, with particular focus on Karachi where the Covid-positivity rate has swelled to 25% which is nearly three times the national Covid-positivity rate of 7.7%. The situation in Hyderabad, with a positivity rate of 9%, is not under control either. Thus the entire province has been put under what the Sindh Chief Minister calls a partial lockdown from today till August 8.
Under the new orders, no government offices, except those dealing with municipal services, shall function throughout the next week; all markets shall remain closed, except pharmacies and groceries which can stay open till 6pm; restaurants can only deliver food, and there can be no takeaway or dinning; inter-city travel has been banned and exams cancelled during the lockdown period.
Even though a bad news for daily wage earners, in particular, the restrictions were inevitable in view of a high infestation of the Delta strain of the virus in Sindh. The reason behind a drastic rise in the Covid cases in the province is quite clear — the rate of SOP compliance there has been the lowest, at 33%, as compared to the rest of the country. Little to no safety precautions were witnessed during or after Eidul Azha. And in Karachi, people have been flouting SOPs as if the virus exists no more. If the government had imposed the measures they had done last Eid, the situation might not have escalated to such an extent. The Delta variant is no joke. While vaccination is absolutely essential to gain immunity and curb the spread of the deadly virus, it does not mean that individuals are completely immune. Masks must still be worn and SOPs must still strictly be followed.
For now, the Sindh CM’s press conference indicates that the government has everything under control and that strict monitoring will take place all of next week. This weeklong lockdown seems to be our best bet to prevent further catastrophe with minimal economic damage. But the government must take heed for the future. Newer and stronger waves will continue to emerge, and officials must be able to predict it beforehand. This might just be our new normal.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2021.