KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, has allowed 640 COVID-19 negatively tested pilgrimsto return to their respective homes, but made them bound to follow the SOPs they have been given. The pilgrims were housed in the Labour Colony, Sukkur.
CM Sidh took this decision in the 27th meeting of the Task Force on Coronavirus at the CM House. The meeting was attended by the provincial ministers, Advisor Law, Chief Secretary, IG Sindh, PSCM, Home Secretary, representatives of the Corps 5, Rangers, Pak Navy, FIA, Airport, Civil Aviation, and the WHO.
Commissioner Sukkur, Shafiq Mahesar, through a video link, told the Chief Minister that there were 640 pilgrims who had been tested thrice, and their test results were declared negative every time. The Chief Minister, in response to this, directed the Commissioner Sukkur to arrange special buses and send the 640 coronavirus negative pilgrims to their respective homes/districts.
“I would suggest you issue an SOP under which they will have to stay in self-isolation in their respective homes for the next ten days,” he said adding, “The Commissioner Sukkur’s team must have the outgoing pilgrims’ mobile numbers and addresses to keep track of them for the next ten days by inquiring about their health,” he said.
The Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary Karachi to issue directives to the deputy commissioners of the districts where these 640 pilgrims were going to receive them. “Make the deputy commissioners responsible for keeping track of the pilgrims for the next ten days,” he said.
Mr Shah congratulated the outgoing pilgrims and their families and hoped that in the interest of their family members’ health and the health of their friends and neighbors, they would voluntarily stay at home for at least the next ten days. “I am quite happy that a great burden is dropping from the shoulders of the government,” he said.
The Chief Minister was told that the number of coronavirus-infected cases in Sindh had reached 410, out of which 143 belonged to Karachi, 265 were pilgrims, and two were from other districts. The number of local transmissions in the city had reached 91.
The Chief Minister was told that 4041 samples, including 2443 of Karachi, 168 of other districts, and 1430 of pilgrims, were tested. The results show that 143 from Karachi, two from other districts, and 265 pilgrims had tested positive. Four hundred eighty-five results are still pending, including 83 of Karachi, 93 of other districts, and 309 of pilgrims.
It may be noted that 796 patients are under treatment in Sukkur-I, 303 Sukkur-II, 83 in Larkana, 98 in Malir, and 104 in home-isolation.
The Health Department, on the instruction of the Chief Minister, has started corona-case mapping. The map shows that there are three cases in Gadap, 15 in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, nine in Gulberg, nine in Jamshed Town, seven in Liaquatabad, four in Malir, 10 in Nazimabad, three in North Karachi, one in Orangi, 41 in Saddar Town. Out of the 143 cases, the mapping of 122 cases has been completed. The Chief Minister directed the Health Department to share the mapping data with the deputy commissioners so that they could take the necessary measures to contain the virus within limited areas.
The Chief Minister was told that Sindh’s government hospitals had reported 1874 pneumonia cases, out of which 251 were tested while private hospitals reported 702 cases, out of which 21 were tested.
The Chief Minister, in his last meeting, had directed the Health Department to improve sampling arrangements at home. The Health Department told the Chief Minister that 18 mobile clinic vehicles of the Indus Hospital had been made available to collect the samples.
The Chief Minister said that the lockdown needed to be stricter. “People are still moving around here and there without any restrictions. This was not the objective behind imposing the lockdown,” he said.
He directed the IG Sindh to take the necessary measures to make the lockdown stricter and to not allow people from roaming freely in the city.
The Chief Minister was told that Wuhan Institute of Virology, China, had prepared a machine for testing the samples of COVID-19. The machine accepts the swabs of the throat while the currently prevailing system accepts swabs of the nose.
The Chief Minister directed his Principal Secretary to sit with Dr Faisal and Dr Bari to discuss and decide whether the machine was fit for Pakistan or not. “If the decision is taken in favor of procuring the machine, then order for 100 machines must be placed,” he said. Furthermore, the CM noted that he would request the federal government to fly a special plane to China to transport the machines for the Sindh province.