The request comes amid a third wave of coronavirus infections
The Sindh coronavirus taskforce has decided to approach the National Command & Operation Center for a ban on inter-provincial transport for two weeks.
The decision was made at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House Friday. It was told that the COVID-19 positivity rate was recorded at 4.6% in Karachi, 5% in Hyderabad and 1.5% in the rest of Sindh from March 26 to April 1. The overall positivity ratio in the province was 2.83%.
A WHO representative said the Variants of Concern (VoCs) of the UK origin were being reported in Pakistan and it would spread widely if its chain was not broken. He noted that since March 26, an average 55 deaths per day have been recorded.
Pakistan has the capacity for VOC detection through targeted polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for S-gene or partial and whole genome sequencing methods, the WHO representative said. The country has reported an increased number of VoC (B.1.1.7 of UK origin) since January 2021, he added.
The WHO recommended strategy for variant-monitoring and tracking entails. After discussion with 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 to and from Sindh could be stopped to contain the virus.
The chief minister said he was not in favour of a lockdown but he only wanted a ban on inter-provincial transport so that people could not move from one province to the other.
“This is the only way to contain the UK strain of the virus,” he said, adding that activities at the port and goods transport would continue to operate as usual.
The meeting decided to collect the data of people who came from the UK over the last few months for necessary tests and vaccination. The home department was assigned the task to collect data from airports. It is believed that the people who have travelled from the UK to Pakistan have brought the virus.
The taskforce recommended that the police being the frontline workers should be vaccinated by the government. The chief minister directed the health department to make necessary arrangements for this.
The meeting recommended the provincial government to close schools for the next 15 days. CM Shah directed Education Minister Saeed Ghani to discuss the matter with all stakeholders, including private school management before taking a final decision.