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Thursday Mar 19 2020

Mass quarantine facilities being set up in Karachi's Expo Center, Sindh districts

Workers are busy setting up beds in Labor Flats, which has been declared a quarantine centre, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, March 18, 2020. Nadeem Khawer/via

KARACHI: Mass quarantine facilities are being set up in Sindh on the pattern of Sukkur quarantine centre that can accommodate at least 10,000 people in isolation simultaneously, authorities said Wednesday.

The development comes after the total number of positive coronavirus cases in the province rose to 208. The facilities, authorities said, are being constructed in Karachi, Jamshoro's Nooribabad Industrial Area, Nawabshah, and Larkana.

"At the moment, 208 patients of coronavirus — including 57 in Karachi and 151 in Sukkur — are under treatment in the province after 36 more tested positive in the province today,” Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said during the 21st meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus.

"The situation is not so serious, yet it is worrisome and we must adopt precautionary measures to stop its further spreads in our cities," he added.

Isolation at Expo Center, Karachi

Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani said he had spoken to the federal government to set up an isolation centre and field hospital at Expo Center, Karachi, after receiving instructions from CM Shah.

The federal government has agreed in principle to do so, he added, and that some formalities were pending that would be completed soon. The CM then directed Shalwani to make necessary arrangements for beds and other required equipment. "This would turn to be a good facility in the centre of the city," he said.

The commissioner also said his control room had received 866 complaints, including 139 on the WhatsApp number.

Large residential complexes

Sindh government officials said they have started work on transforming a large residential complex, comprising 3,000 apartments, in the city outskirts into a mass quarantine facility where around 6,000 people can be kept away from the population.

Similarly, another residential complex comprising 2,000 residential apartments in the Nooriabad Industrial Area is also being converted into a mass quarantine facility to keep around 4,000 people in the quarantine, officials added, noting that it would be used to house people from lower Sindh's districts, including Thatta, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, among others.

Two more such isolation facilities are also being prepared, equipped, and renovated in Nawabshah and Larkana, they said, adding that both confirmed and suspected people would be kept — separately — at these facilities until they fully recover before being allowed to leave.

During the coronavirus task force meeting, Shah was told that samples of 303 pilgrims from Taftan/Sukkur were analysed and of those, 151 were negative, 151 positive, and one was pending.

Similarly, 57 of the 573 samples from Karachi and other districts tested positive, whereas 516 were declared negative. At this, the chief minister said it meant Sindh had 208 patients of coronavirus.

At present, the 57 positive coronavirus cases are under treatment, while 151 are being treated in Sukkur.

New batch

Commissioner Sukkur Shafiq Mahesar told the chief minister that 757 pilgrims from Taftan had arrived at Sukkur in 18 buses were sent to their rooms where fruits and water were available.

Shah, in this regard, advised the commissioner to start collecting their samples and send them to Karachi for lab testing.


The meeting was told that Sindh's public hospitals had reported 1,874 suspects/pneumonia patients, of which 28 patients were tested.

The private hospitals, on the other hand, reported 702 suspects with samples of pneumonia, of which eight had severe symptoms and their tests were underway.

New batch from Saudi Arabia

Shah was also told that a new batch of 10,660 pilgrims arrived from Saudi Arabia on March 8. The immigration authorities have provided their list to the health department.

The chief minister directed health department to get in touch with these pilgrim and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days. In case of symptoms, they must inform the health department.

Illegal arrival

The meeting was also told that 44 pilgrims returned from Iran illegally and had reached Turbat where they were stopped. The CM directed deputy commissioner Qambar Shahdadkot to receive them inside his jurisdiction and then have them shifted to Sukkur for treatment.


Director-General Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Salman Shah told the chief minister he had started registering volunteers to assist the institution in relief work all over Sindh. Some 1000 people had registered themselves as volunteers on the PDMA's website, he added.

The chief minister said the people in Sindh were demonstrating a very responsible attitude and that it was quite encouraging. "I am quite happy that everyone is cooperating in their level and capacity,” he said.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, and Nasir Shah, CM's Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, and IGP Sindh Mushtaq Mehar, among other officials.