Markets, shopping malls, offices to remain closed
The Sindh government has decided to impose a ‘partial lockdown’ in Karachi and all other cities as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
The decision has been taken by the provincial task force on coronavirus. The meeting was chaired by Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah on Friday.
The lockdown will be imposed from July 31 (Saturday) to August 8 (Sunday). During this time, all markets, shopping malls, other shops, and government offices will remain closed.
All markets, shops and malls to remain closed.
The export industry has, however, been given an exemption.
Pharmacies and medical stores will remain open but they will have to strictly implement Covid-19 SOPs.
People seen on roads will be asked for their CNICs and vaccination cards. Those who haven’t received the vaccine will be fined.
Inter-city transport has been suspended too.
Nausheem Hamid, the parliamentary secretary for Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, shared that the coronavirus situation is quite serious in Karachi. Of Pakistan’s total coronavirus cases, 51% of cases are from Karachi, she shared.
She remarked that the NCOC had advised the Sindh government against imposing a complete lockdown. It had told them to implement smart lockdowns in different areas. “But the Sindh government made the decision as it has the power to do so,” Hamid remarked.
The health system in Sindh has reached its saturation point. “We saw how people were running on streets in India looking for oxygen.” Delta variant is spreading rapidly and its transmissibility is quite high. The government must ensure vaccination of the target population as deaths are increasing once again.
Lockdown is never the first option for any government because the government faces the most losses, the secretary added.
Traders have rejected the Sindh government’s decision to impose a lockdown in the province.
Trader Muhammad Rizwan said that the decision will affect small shopkeepers the most. “The government isn’t thinking before taking such harsh decisions. It is causing unemployment.” Does the government want people to leave their jobs? How long will we continue to suffer?
He said that traders are not against the lockdown, adding that the government should provide them some relief. We have been suffering losses for the last two years. “What has the government done for us?”
Jameel Paracha, another trader, said that such decisions will lead to people dying hungry.
Two Sind ministers held a meeting with traders and we told them to increase the business timings from 6pm to 8pm. Rather than listening to us, they have done the opposite, he claimed.
The Tajir Action Committee has called a meeting later in the day after which they will announce their plan of action, Paracha told SAMAA TV.
Earlier in the day, the National Command and Operation Centre said that it has “critically reviewed” the disease spread in Karachi and decided to take all possible measures to assist the Sindh Government in combating the rising trend of the disease.
It remarked that the federal government has decided to ramp up critical care capacity, including oxygenated beds and vents, availability of oxygen, and deployment of LEAs for implementation of SOPs.
Karachi’s positivity rate has shot up to 30%.
The Delta variant has been spreading at an alarming rate and the positivity rate in Karachi has shot up to 30%.
On Thursday, a micro smart lockdown was imposed in Gulberg, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, Liaquatabad, and other union councils of Karachi. These areas reported 506 cases of the Delta variant.
Doctors and health experts have recommended a 15-day lockdown in Karachi. They said a complete curfew-like lockdown should be imposed in the city and all types of movement should be banned.
According to Sindh spokesperson Murtaza Wahab, the recommendations were given to the coronavirus task force and the government will only decide after overviewing the situation. “We want to give the public another chance before taking any tough decision,” he said in a press conference Wednesday.