KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, said that 15 cases of coronavirus have tested positive in Sindh so far. All the cases are imported, and none of them is indigenous, he noted.
“This means that we will have to be more cautious in checking the passengers coming from Iran, Afghanistan, Italy, and any such countries at the airport. The suspect(s), if any, must be quarantined there instead of bringing them inside the city.”
He said this while presiding over the 13th meeting of the Taskforce on Coronavirus at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Minister Health, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Minister Local Government, Nasir Shah, Advisor Law, Murtaza Wahab, Mayor Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, Chief Secretary, Mumtaz Shah, IG Sindh, Ghulam Nabi Maher, PSCM, Sajid Jamal Abro, Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, Secretary Home, Usman Chachar, Secretary Finance, Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Health, Zahid Abbasi, DG PDMA, Salman Shah, representatives of Corps 5, Rangers, FIA, Airport Services, Civil Aviation, WHO, Aga Khan Hospital, and the Indus Hospital.
The Chief Minister was told that 19 samples were tested, out of which nine tested positive while ten were declared negative. The number of cases in Sindh has reached 15, including 14 in Karachi and one in Hyderabad. Two more samples have been sent for lab testing, and their results are being awaited.
The meeting was told that all the 14 patients under treatment were stable and recovering. The Health Department has conducted 162 lab tests, out of which 147 were declared negative, whereas 15 tested positive. Two results are still pending.
The meeting was told that the first patient had recovered and returned home while the other one, who was a high-risk 67-year-old patient, has also recovered and tested negative. He will be tested again to confirm his recovery.
It was pointed out that 167 pilgrims were in quarantine in their homes.
The Chief Minister said that every day around 4000 passengers land at the Karachi airport; therefore, arrangements for their screening must be foolproof. He directed the Chief Secretary to talk to the Federal Government and request them to make quarantine arrangements at the airport for any coronavirus suspects. “I want none of the passengers with pneumonia or coronavirus symptoms to be brought out of the airport and exposed to others,” he said.
The Chief Secretary told the Chief Minister that the Health Department had posted 32 professionals at the airport. He said he was doubling the Health Department staff at the airport so that every incoming passenger could be checked properly.
On the instructions of the Chief Minister, private hospitals shared the data of 691 patients. None of them tested positive for the virus.
The meeting decided that the health education and screening desk would be established at the immigration counters at the Karachi airport. The WHO would give the Health Department’s professionals, doctors, and paramedical staff specialized training.
In regards to the PSL matches, the Chief Minister said that the PSL matches had already been scheduled in the city. He directed the Chief Secretary and IG Police to make the necessary arrangements for organizing the PSL matches as per schedule.
The Chief Minister directed Local Government Minister, Syed Nasir Shah, and Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, to hold a meeting with the PCB authorities and discuss all the precautionary measures taken with them.
He urged them to install hand wash sanitizer boxes at the stadium and issue an advisory for people who have a travel history of Iran to not to visit the stadium.
The Commissioner and PCB authorities would work out a detailed precautionary plan in light of the advisory that the Health Department issued.