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CM Sindh orders further tightening of lockdown, export-based industry to operate under SOP

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the death toll hit high on Wednesday when six more people lost their lives while 45 patients were critically ill and 150 new coronavirus cases have emerged.

“This is why the government has extended lockdown by another 14 days which we were are going to tighten further just to save our people from the virus.”

This he said while addressing a press conference here at Auditorium of Sindh Assembly building.

He was flanked by provincial ministers, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Imtiaz Shaikh, Mukesh Chawla and Advisor Murtaza Wahab.Giving daily report on coronavirus, Mr Shah said that on during last 24 hours 1523 news test were conducted against which 150 new cases detected.

The totals tests conducted so far come to 16026 while the tally of the positives cases has risen to 1668, he said.

The chief minister said that during last 24 hours six more people succumbed to the virus, the death toll till Wednesday morning has reached 41 which is 2.4 percent of the total patients. “Our death ratio is higher than the ratio of other various other countries of the world,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the most critical aspect of the virus was growing number of deaths. “We are counting only those deaths which were tested as positive but there are 15 unexplained deaths which also stem from coronavirus symptoms,”

he said and added if those deaths were counted together the number would increase 56.

Giving details of 15 unexplained deaths, the chief minister said that their lunges had the same shape in X-rays which coronavirus patients’ lungs assume. “The experts, after examining their cases, have concluded that they were also coronavirus-stimmed deaths,” he said.

Talking about total patients, Mr Shah said that 748 are under home isolation, 58 at Isolation centers and 261 in hospitals. The patient currently under treatment are 1067, he said. He added that 560 patients have recovered and on Wednesday 133 more were cured and sent to their homes with a certificate of recovery. “Our patient recovery rate is 33.6 percent,” he said. He said that out of 122 people of Tabligh Jamaat 110 have recovered and returned to the homes. He disclosed that some of Tabligh jamaat people were foreigners and their passports were at their Riwind Headquarters.

“We have sent them to Raiwind from where they will collect their passports and return to their respective countries,” he said. He said that 5000 people Tabligh Jamaat have been sent in isolation and “we have decided to conduct their at least 1000 tests daily,”

he said and added “we have also increased the number of tests.He said that more cases (150) were surfacing when more tests (1523) were being conducted. “It means the cases exit there and spread and with extensive testing their number comes up alarmingly, he said.

He added “the situation has made me worried and more conscious, that is why I am making strict interventions such as further tightening the lockdown so that people can be saved from infection.”

If the lockdown was imposed 15 days earlier as he had suggested, the situation would have been different, the chief minister and added now the federal government has extended it for another 14 days.

He said that some union councils of East, of Karachi had a large number of Coronavirus positive cases, therefore the deputy commissioner had sealed 11 union councils.

“An unnecessary hue and cry was made against the sealing of the union councils and unnecessary criticism on the names/numbers of UCs was started,” he said and added that the health department has infrastructure/system of defunct town, therefore it was announced accordingly. The decision was right to seal them but then some muhallas were sealed. Pillion Riding: Sindh Chief Minister announced ban on pillion riding, however, women have been exempted but children would not be allowed. Agreement with Fed govt: Sindh chief minister said that on Tuesday two meetings were held – the first one with Federal Minister Asad Umar and the other one with prime minister. In those meetings all the provincial government agreed that the lockdown would be extended for another 14 days, he said and added he was thankful to them for developing consensus.

Mr Shah said that before meeting with Mr Asad Umer draft proposals for exemptions were exchanged.

“We had agreed on all the points but there were four such points/sectors on which we discussed in the meeting, he said and added they were opening of plumber, electrician shops; opening of automobile industry, resuming domestic flight operation and opening of construction sector.Plumber shops: The chief minister said that he proposed the federal government not to open plumber, hairdresser, electrician, tailors shops because their shops were located in markets and it would be unreasonable to allow some shops to start operation and stop others. Moreover, he said when cloth markets were closed how the tailors would operate.

Top of it when there was a strict lockdown, how people would go to get their hair dressed, stitch their clothes and get their plumbering and electrician works fixed. He said he had proposed that the plumbers and electrician tbe allowed to provide their services on phone calls instead of opening their shops. This point did not develop consensus.

Automobile Industry: Mr Shah said that he opposed opening of automobile industry because it has not so necessary when the country was passing through a very critical phase of its history. “I am thankful to the provinces that they agreed upon his proposal,” he said.Domestic Flights: A proposal of starting of domestic flights came under discussion. “We all the provinces, including AJK PM said that there was no need of opening domestic flights when inter-city and intra-city passenger bus services have been suspended. Therefore, it was agreed upon to keep the domestic flights suspended for next couple of weeks.Construction Industry: The Chief Minister said that the prime minister was of the view that after agriculture sector the construction sector has a large scale employment. Therefore, he wanted urge dfor its opening. Mr Shah said that he proposed to open gray construction activities which include manufacturing of cement, steel and such others. These activities would be allowed after fulfilment of SOPs by the factory management. He said that construction on site would be allowed when permission would be sought from the district administration under a particular SOP. Home delivery: The chief minister said hat restaurants would be allowed to comply home delivery service under a particular SOP. Those who would defy the SOP would be sealed and would not be allowed to operate.

However, in ome areas dhaba type of restaurants would be allowed to operate but nobody would be allowed to dine there. People would be allowed to purchase their food from there and eat it somewhere or at home, he disclosed.Prayers at Mosque: The chief minister said that he wanted the prime minister to announce SOPs for mosques. The prime minister in his address said that he would talk to Ulemas of different school of thought before announcing the SOP.On Tuesday some Ulemas for whom he had lot of respect had announced to open mosques unilaterally. “We have not banned offering prayers in the mosques but an SOP has been worked out in consultation with Ulemas that there would a very limited jamaat of four to five persons and this needs to be continued,” he said.

The holy month of Ramzan is also approaching, therefore he has constituted a committee of his cabinet members to talk with Ulemas and their meeting would start from today. “We in consultation with Ulemas and religious leaders will develop a code of conduct for jamaat, Tarwih and other prayers in the mosques,”

he said and added then the other provinces would follow the course. “I am thankful to ulemas that they are cooperating and guiding us,” he said and added some of the ulemas have also lost their lives while fighting against coronavirus, therefore are mindful of the situation, he said. He assured the ulemas that he would resolve all their issues.

Industrialists: The Chief Minister said that the industrialist were also supporting the government for which he was thankful to them. He assured them that he would resolve their all the issues on priority basis. He said that an SOP has been issued for factories, particularly those which had exported-related set up. A factory owner would have to provide a list of his employees to be taken to the factories in buses.

On the [factory] bus name of factory would be displayed and the passengers on board would be one third of the total capacity of the bus, he said.Rs12 bilion ration: The chief minister said that over all his government has released Rs12 billion in which Rs3 billion were included the government employees had donated.

“Some people are saying that the Sindh government has spent Rs8 billion on ration which is also wrong,” he said. He said that his government had released only Rs1160 million for ration in two equal installments of Rs580 million and the total amount was yet to be utilized. ‘We have distributed 250,000 ration bags and the process was in progress ,” he said.Mr Shah said that whatever amount has been utilized is placed on website aof finance department.

“We have the complete addresses and CNIC number of the people whom the ration bags have been handed over,” he said.

The chief minister once gain urged the people to observe lockdown in true letter and spirit.

“It is for your safety and the safety of your family and others,” he said.

He added ‘Imran Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan and he is most welcome whenever he wants to visit Karachi- this is his city but he must follow the SOP and do not gather a crowd around him,” he concluded with the advice

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