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Tally of coronavirus cases rises to 249 in Sindh

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, has urged the people of the province to observe the next three days in voluntary isolation so that people can be safe and secure.

In the next three days, offices will be closed, hotels will not allow dining in, and gyms will be closed. Therefore, there is no need for people to go outside, he noted.

He said this while presiding over the 23rd meeting of the Taskforce on Coronavirus at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary, Mumtaz Shah, IG Sindh, Mushtaq Maher, PSCM, Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Home, Usman Chachar, Brigadier Sami of Corps 5, representatives of the WHO, Civil Aviation Authority, Airport, VC, Dow University of Health Sciences, Prof Saeed Qureshi, Prof Dr Bari of the Indus Hospital, Dr Faisal Mehmood of the AKUH, Focal Person, MB Dharejo, and others.

Mr Shah said that the people of Pakistan are fighting against the COVID-19 bravely. “The time has come to demonstrate a responsible attitude by observing voluntary social distancing. We should all remain in our homes,” he said.

He also said that he was surprised that during these holidays, some people were hosting receptions and family gatherings in their homes. “This is not the time to arrange social gatherings but for social distancing,” he said.

Secretary Health, Zahid Abbasi, is his briefing to the Chief Minister, said that 2017 samples had been taken from Sukkur and 83 from Larkana, out of which 1294 tested negative while 238 were declared positive. Four hundred two of Sukkur’s and 83 of Larkana’s samples are pending results.

1230 samples were tested in Karachi and other districts, out of which 98 have tested positive. The tally has risen to 249.

It may be noted that 402 pilgrims returned from Taftan and have been kept in Sukkur, while 83 others who also returned from Iran have been kept in isolation in Larkana.

The Chief Minister said that cases due to local transmission have soared to 51.

Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, told the Chief Minister that 22 pilgrims were scheduled to go to Iran, but due to the COVID-19 spread, they could not go. He added that all the 22 pilgrims have returned via Lasbela, and the DC West has received them. The Chief Minister directed the Commissioner to get all 22 people screened and confirm if they all are healthy then proceed to send them back to their homes.

The Commissioner also briefed the Chief Minister about establishing the Quarantine Center and Field Hospital at the Expo Center. The Chief Minister directed him to make the necessary arrangements for toilets and resting places for the staff working at the Expo Center. He allowed the essential procurement of equipment, medicines, masks, and other items.

The public sector hospitals, in their daily report, identified 1874 suspects out of which 21 tested positive. The private sector hospitals have given a list of 702 suspects, out of which five were declared positive.

The Chief Minister was informed that 15 out of 31 flights were canceled. The 16 remaining scheduled flights brought 3710 passengers out of which four were deemed suspects. They have been kept in quarantine, and their samples have been sent for testing.

March 23, 2020

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