Regional News

Coronavirus cases soar in Pakistan

KARACHI: The Chief Minister Sindh was recently informed that a total of 501 tests were conducted in Karachi, out of which 463 tested negative while 38 tested positive. Two hundred seventy-four samples of pilgrims living in Sukkur were also tested, out of which 140 were declared negative while 134 tested positive. The total case count in Sindh has reached to 172. The results of 29 samples are still pending.

It was disclosed that 31 scheduled flights were to land at the Jinnah Terminal, out of which nine were canceled, and a total of 3922 passengers arrived. On screening of the passengers, three were termed suspects of the coronavirus and were sent to the quarantine facilities. Their samples have been sent for lab tests.

The Commissioner Sukkur told the Chief Minister that 696 pilgrims left Taftan for Sukkur in 17 buses and would be reaching Sukkur shortly.

The Chief Minister directed the Commissioner to make the necessary arrangements for their residence, medical checkup, and lab tests.

On the instructions of the Chief Minister, three health officers have been deployed to coordinate and implement government decisions at the divisional level. He directed the District Administration to identify the newly constructed hospitals, RHC, THQ hospitals, as well as the isolation centers.

He also directed the Health Department to send three lab technicians to the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, for training.

The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, also decided to establish a Coronavirus Relief Fund of Rs3billion in which he announced to donate money worth his one month’s salary. Following the footsteps of the Chief Minister, all the cabinet members, advisors, and special assistants to the CM, Chief Secretary, Mumtaz Shah, IG Police, Mushtaq Maher, and Chairman, P&D, Mohammad Waseem, have also announced to donate their one-month salaries to the fund.

Mayor Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, also announced to donate his one month’s salary to the fund.

The Chief Minister also announced that all the government officers of grade BPS-21 would donate half of their salaries while the employees of grade BPS-17 to 20 would contribute 10% of their salaries to the fund. Employees from grade BPS-1 to 16 would contribute 5% of their earnings to the fund.

The Chief Minister also approved the transfer of Rs1 billion from the Relief Fund into the Coronavirus Fund.

The Chief Minister appealed to philanthropists, industrialists, and others to donate to the fund in cash so that the patients, suspects, and people of Sindh at large, could be made adequately taken care of.

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, recently chaired a meeting in which he decided to convert a block of the Sukkur Labor Colony, developed as Isolation Center, into a full-fledged hospital, to provide full medical facilities to the pilgrims living there.

The hospital would have a medical superintendent with medical officers, pediatricians, and paramedical and janitorial staff. It would have an OPD facility and proper wards equipped with the necessary equipment as well.

The Chief Minister also directed the Chief Secretary to provide one million soaps to the union councils of the rural areas for onward distribution among villagers to wash their hands. He urged the Chief Secretary to talk to soap companies and get the soaps on subsidy.

The Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary to take the necessary measures for functionalizing the newly constructed hospitals in all the districts and taluka headquarters. “This is a difficult situation, and we will have to further strengthen our health care system,” he said.

Shah said that the people stuck in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UK, and other countries were set to return. Therefore, newly constructed labor colonies in Nooriabad, Kotri, Hyderabad, and Shaheed Benazirabad, should be developed into Isolation Centers based on Sukkur’s model.

-MN Report

March 19, 2020

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