No room for easing Covid-19 curbs in Sindh: Murad
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Sunday that there was no room for relaxing Covid-19 restrictions in the province, urging citizens to strictly follow precautionary measures for curbing the spread of the virus.
Addressing a press conference, the chief minister compared coronavirus figures from last year and this year immediately after EidulFitr.
“There were 831 coronavirus cases reported on the first day of Shawwal. On Friday, more than 2,000 cases were reported,” he said, adding that this was due to citizens flouting standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the Eid holidays.
He said that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided to lift restrictions from Monday (tomorrow). “However, experts part of the Provincial Coronavirus Task Force strictly advised us that this is the time for caution.
“Considering the current situation, there is no room for relaxation. We do not want [a repeat] of the situation from last June and July,” he said, adding that beds in some hospitals were also filling up.
“You can’t find beds at Aga Khan University Hospital and Indus Hospital. The Infectious Diseases Hospital is also full. We had closed down the Expo Centre facility, but we had to reopen it and right now it is at 50 per cent capacity. These [figures] are concerning and we can’t turn a blind eye and move forward.”
Therefore, the task force decided to implement stricter restrictions, the chief minister said. He said that an ease in restrictions depended on the people and how well the public followed precautionary measures.
“Given the current situation, we can’t even predict whether things will get better in two weeks or four weeks. However, what we can say is that if people follow SOPs, the situation will improve. This is more so in people’s hands.”
Elaborating on the decisions taken during the meeting of the provincial task force, he said that restrictions will remain in place for the next two weeks, adding that additional curbs were also being implemented.
“We had said earlier that markets would be allowed to remain open till 8pm, but we are reverting back to 6pm.
A notification in this regard will be issued today,” he said, urging citizens to cooperate with the administration. “Malls will also close at 6pm.”
Stand-alone pharmacies, petrol pumps, medical facilities and vaccination centres will remain open, he said, adding that takeaway and home delivery will also be allowed. “Indoor and outdoor dining is not allowed.
“Marriage halls, business centres, expo halls, parks, indoor gyms, sports facilities are completely closed.
Cinemas, beauty salons, shrines and all tourist spots are closed for the next two weeks,” he said.
Shah added that schools and colleges were also completely closed throughout the province.
“We will not be following the recommendation to open schools in areas with a positivity rate less than five per cent. Today it might be five, but tomorrow it could be six. So for two weeks SOPs will be strictly followed.”
The chief minister also urged citizens to get inoculated for the virus, adding that the provincial government had established 234 vaccination centres across Sindh. “The only way to save yourself from the pandemic is to get vaccinated.”
He said that the vaccines being administered in the country had undergone rigorous testing. “There are a lot of rumours regarding the vaccines, but do not pay attention to these claims. The whole world is reopening because of vaccines and we have been left far behind.”