The provincial Taskforce on Corona has decided to approach the National Command & Operation Center (NCOC) to impose a ban on inter-provincial transport for two weeks and start registration of the people for COVID vaccine.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at CM House on Friday. Those who attended the meeting include provincial ministers, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary Qasim Siraj Soomro, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Sindh Mushtaq Maher, ACS Home Usman Chachar, Secretary School Education Ahmed Bux Narejo, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Dr Palitha Gunarathna and Dr Sarar of WHO, Dr Bari, Dr Faisal and representatives of Corps-5, Rangers and other organizations.
The meeting was told that from March 26 to April 1, 2021 the positive ratio of COVID-19 has been recorded at 4.63 percent in Karachi, 5 percent in Hyderabad and 1.5 percent in rest of Sindh and over all provincial positive ration is 2.83 percent.
The WHO representative said that Variants of Concern (VOC) of UK origin were being reported in Pakistan and it would spread widely if its chain was not broken. He pointed out that from March 26 to this date on average 55 deaths per day have been recorded.
WHO representative said that Pakistan has the capacity for VOC detection through targeted polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for S gene or partial and whole genome sequencing methods. He added that Pakistan has reported an increased number of VoC (B.1.1.7 of UK origin) since January 20201.
The WHO recommended strategy for variant monitoring and tracking entails. It assured it support at national and provincial levels for detection of identified VOC and strengthening capacity for early identification of emerging new variants through Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)
After thorough discussion by the experts, the provincial task force decided to approach the federal government to impose a ban on inter-provincial transport so that travelling of people in and to Sindh could be stopped to contain the virus.
The chief minister said that he was not in favour of lockdown but just he wanted to ban inter-provincial transport so that people could not move from one province to the other. “This is the only way to contain UK origin virus,” he said and added “the activity at seaport and goods transport would operate as usual,” he clarified.
The meeting decided to collect the data of the people who have come from the UK to Karachi during the last few months for necessary tests and vaccination. The home department was assigned the task to collect data from the airports. It is believed that the people who have travelled from the UK to Pakistan have brought the virus.
The taskforce also recommended that the policemen being the frontline workers should be vaccinated by the government for which the chief minister directed the health department to make necessary arrangements.
The meeting also recommended the provincial government to shut down schools for next 15 days. At this the chief minister directed Minister Education Saeed Ghani to discuss the matter with all the stakeholders, including private school management before taking a final decision. “I am leaving it up to the education minister to decide in which areas/districts/cities schools should be closed,” he said.
The taskforce also urged the government to allow and facilitate private hospitals to procure COVID vaccines. This would help to reduce pressure on the public sector hospitals.