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Friday Jul 30 2021
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Sindh govt imposes lockdown till August 8 amid dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases

A man wearing a protective mask walks through a crowd of people along a makeshift market as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Karachi. Photo: Reuters
A man wearing a protective mask walks through a crowd of people along a makeshift market as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Karachi. Photo: Reuters

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to impose an immediate lockdown till August 8 as the province continues to battle the dangerous surge in COVID-19 infections, Geo News reported Friday.

It goes into effect tomorrow (Saturday).

This was decided in a meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of the coronavirus task force which was attended by provincial ministers, medical experts and representatives of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Friday.

For the first time, parliamentary leaders of political parties were also invited to the COVID-19 task force meeting. Besides this, the Sindh Ranger DG was also invited.

Read more: Why does Karachi desperately need a coronavirus lockdown?

Karachi's Tajir Action Committee has rejected the Sindh government's lockdown decision. Rizwan Irfan, of the Tajir Action Committee, said the group is disappointed with the Sindh CM's decision.

"We had appealed to the government delegation to not impose a complete lockdown," Irfan said, adding that the traders' group had suggested extending business hours.

The Sindh health department had proposed a two-week lockdown to the task force, while medical experts had proposed a two-week ban on inter-city transport. A proposal was also made to close all educational institutions and educational activities for two weeks.

The National Command and Operation Centre had opposed the idea of a complete lockdown in Karachi and the head of the NCOC, Asad Umar, said that closing the entire city for weeks is not a cure. 

The Sindh government, however, had said that it does not care what the federation says and that the only immediate solution to bring down virus cases was a lockdown.

Key decisions in the Sindh coronavirus task force meeting

The lockdown goes into effect from tomorrow. Here are some of the key decision that were made:

  • Government offices will be closed from next week.
  • Those who do not get vaccinated will not get their salary after August 31.
  • Vaccination cards of anyone roaming the streets will be checked.
  • The Export industry will remain open.
  • All markets in the province will remain closed, but pharmacies will stay open.
  • Inter-city transport will be closed.

NCOC decides to help Sindh government

The NCOC has decided to take all possible measures to assist the Sindh government in combating the rising trend of coronavirus in the province, especially Karachi.

This was announced by the NCOC on Twitter shortly before the Sindh coronavirus task force meeting started.

"The measures being undertaken by federal government include ramp up of critical care capacity including oxygenated beds & vents, availability of oxygen and deployment of LEAs for implementation of SOPs and NPIs," the NCOC wrote.