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Coronavirus task force endorses NCOC relaxation in certain NPIs

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on the Coronavirus at the CM House endorsed the decision taken by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) regarding the relaxation of certain specific non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).

“We will review the decision keeping in view the impact of COVID-19 in the post-Eid scenario and may take strict decisions if the standard operational procedures (SOPs) are followed or a spike in the cases is reported,” the CM said.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Advisor law Murtaza Wahab, IG Police Mushtaq Maher, ACS Home Usman Chachar, Commissioner Karachi Naveed Shaikh, Additional IG Karachi Imran Minhas, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary School Education Ahmed Bux Narejo, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi, Dr Abdul Bari Khan, Dr Faisal Mehmood, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, and representatives of the Corps 5, Rangers and WHO.

At the outset of the meeting, the Task Force endorsed relaxation in certain specific NPIs announced by the NCOC on May 15, 2021, however, it was decided that the forum would review its decision again soon by evaluating the impact of the virus after Eid. “If the SOPs are not followed in true letter and spirit the government will take strict action and may withdraw the relaxation given to the NPIs,” the Chief Minister warned.

In his weekly report, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi briefed the meeting stating that during the last week, May 10 to 16, 2021, Karachi East has shown 26 per cent COVID cases, South 17 per cent, Central 14 per cent, Sukkur 12 per cent, Hyderabad and Karachi-Malir 11 per cent each, Korangi 10 per cent, Dadu nine per cent, Karachi-West eight per cent, Thatta seven per cent, Badin, Ghotki, Naushehroferoze and Shaheed Benazirabad, five per cent each.

Secretary Health disclosed that during the 30 days, 142 deaths stemming from COVID-19, were reported, of them 87 per cent or 123 patients died in hospitals on ventilators and 13 per cent or 19 patients died at home. At this, the Chief Minister said that it was not a good situation. “We have to save our valuable lives by taking the necessary measures,” he said adding that it would be possible when people follow SOPs and get themselves vaccinated.

The meeting was told that there were 664 ICU beds with ventilators in Sindh, out of which 58 have been occupied. Out of the 1,814 HDU beds, 460 have been occupied. Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi told the meeting that on May 5, there were 54 patients on ventilators in Karachi, on May 11 and 12 the number of patients on vent increased to 59 and then it went on dropping down to 55 on May 13 and 14 but again on May 16 the number increased to 55. He added that in Hyderabad the number of patients on ventilators had not gone up to three patients during said week, May 5 to 16, 2021.

The Chief Minister was told that the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital COVID unit has been closed due to some financial liabilities. The Chief Minister directed Minister Local Government Nasir Shah to get it functional within two days and conduct an inquiry against the liabilities and report him. “The Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is an important facility and it must operate at its full capacity round the clock,” he said.

The meeting was told that the provincial government has received 9,32,000 doses of Sinopharm, 11,000 Cansino, 280,000 SinoVac and 10,7500 AstraZeneca. It was disclosed that so far 616,850 vaccines have been utilized for the first dose and 213,798 for the second dose.

During the Eid holidays, some 13,634 vaccines were administered at the Expo centre Karachi and 59,886 in the rest of the centres of the province. At this, the Chief Minister directed the Health Department to start a mobile vaccination drive for senior citizens who were handicapped, or bedridden.

The meeting was told that the daily oxygen demand for COVID patients has been recorded at 35,089 m3. The participants of the meeting observed that necessary measures may be taken to procure more oxygen.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over another meeting regarding the production of oxygen said that his team in collaboration with the Jamshoro Power Company Ltd (JPCL) explored the option of oxygen production through electrolysis. “Initially the oxygen produced as a byproduct of electrolysis has been wasted and now, we have developed a concept to utilize it,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Advisor law Murtaza Wahab, Principal Secretary Sajid Jamal Abro, Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro Capt (R) Farid and CEO JPCL Tanveer Jafferi.

The CEO of JPCL told the Chief Minister that initially 92 per cent purified oxygen was produced and now the purity percentage has been enhanced to 97.7 per cent. The PCSIR has tested the oxygen being produced by the JPCL and declared it fit for medical usage.

The Chief Minister said that the concept of oxygen production could be replicated in the Thermal Power Sector throughout the country, where electrolysis was being used as a cooling process.

May 19, 2021

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