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Thursday Jul 29 2021
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Complete lockdown in Karachi expected as Sindh corononavirus task force meets tomorrow amid rising cases

Army personnel and policemen arrive at a market to enforce an evening lockdown imposed amid rising COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Karachi on July 28, 2021. — AFP/File
Army personnel and policemen arrive at a market to enforce an evening lockdown imposed amid rising COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Karachi on July 28, 2021. — AFP/File

  • Sindh COVID task force members say space in hospitals "nearing saturation point".
  • Final decision to impose a lockdown in Karachi to be taken tomorrow at 11am.
  • Businesses will be shut and a complete ban on public movement will be imposed during the lockdown.


The Sindh government is mulling a complete lockdown in Karachi as the city's hospitals are "nearing saturation point", members from the provincial task force on coronavirus told The News on Thursday.

The task force's members said the final decision to impose a lockdown in the port city would be taken in a meeting tomorrow at 11am, with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah in the chair.

Provincial government officials told The News that medical experts within the task force have asked for a complete 14-day lockdown in the city.

"Hospitals are nearing a saturation point with cases in Karachi rising rapidly," the task force members said, adding that the Sindh government was consulting stakeholders on the imposition of a lockdown.

Representatives of the Pakistan Medical Association have already demanded a complete lockdown across Sindh, the members said.

Oxygen supply under pressure

The task force members said more than 370 COVID-19 patients had been admitted to hospitals across Karachi in just the last two days. "The pressure on oxygen supply is increasing with the influx of patients."

Businesses will be shut and a complete ban on public movement will be imposed during the lockdown, the task force members said.

On a positive note, the Sindh government's suggestion to block SIM cards of people who have not been vaccinated seems to be working, with hundreds of people lined up outside Karachi's vaccination centres, Geo News reported.

A long queue of people could be seen outside Expo Centre, the biggest vaccination centre in the city.

The Sindh Health Department said in the last 24 hours 188,000 people got themselves inoculated.

Lockdown 'not the solution'

Separately, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operation Centre, expressed concern over the situation in Karachi, where the positivity ratio had exceeded 30%.

Umar, addressing a press conference earlier in the day, supported the steps taken by the Sindh government to curb the spread and said the federal government will extend all support to the province.

“Sindh is taking proactive measures, which is the right thing to do right now,” he said.

On media reports of a possible lockdown in Karachi, he said "this is not the solution".

“In the past one year, we have learned that shutting down had not worked and it won't work now. So the only way forward is to vaccinate and follow SOPs.”

PMA calls for 15-day lockdown in Karachi

Given the alarming rise in coronavirus cases in Karachi, the Secretary-General of the PMA Dr Qaiser Sajjad, a day earlier, had suggested imposing a 15-day lockdown in the metropolis.

Speaking to Geo News, Dr Sajjad said that according to government statistics, the positivity ratio has risen to 30% in the city.

"If we count those people who have not taken a PCR test for COVID-19, the positivity ratio in the city has likely reached 40%," Dr Sajjad said.

He said the government has no other option but to impose a complete lockdown.